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Full text of "Omni Magazine (June 1993)"

SEX AND VIOLENCE AMONG THE PRIMATES 






SCIENTISTS 
BATTLE THE 



■R THE AIR 





4«™ 






onnmi 



VOL. 15 NO. 8 



EDITOR IN CHIEF & DESIGN DIRECTOR: BOB GUCCIONE 

PRESIDENT & C.0,0.. KATHY KEETON 

EDITOR; KEITH FERRELL 

EXECUTIVE VP/GRAPHICS DIRECTOR: FRANK DEVINO 

MANAGING EDITOR; CAROLINE DARK 

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR: DWAYNE FLINCHUM 



DEPARTMENTS 



First Word 

By Fang Li Zhi and 

Richard Dicker 

Scientists come to the 

aid of their 

imprisoned colleagues 

in China. 

6 

Communications 

8 

Travel 

By Wallace Kaufman 

10 

Wtieels 

By Steve Nadis 

12 

Political Science 

By Tom Dworeizl<y 

Defending Star Wars 

14 

Electronic Universe 

By Gregg Keizer 

18 

Earth 

By Linda Marsa 

Chiefs against biotechnology 

20 

Animals 

By Sieve Nadis 

Do elephants ever forget? 

22 

Kid Stuff 

By Robert K. J. Kiliheffer 

New books show the 

people behind 

scientific discoveries. 

96 

Games 

By Scot Morris 




ozone and you'll likely run into all three. 
We've got heady opinion, provocative commentary, 

bold speculation. An atmospheric, 
as it were, issue. (Art and photo credits, page 94) 



27 

Continuum 
34 

Ozone Politics 

By James P. Hogan 
No evidence exists for the 

ozone hole, 

says the author. Eminent 

science-fiction 

writer Frederik Pohl 

disagrees. 

43 

Heresy! 

Tfiree Modern Galileos 

By Anthony Liversidge 

The Church doesn't have 

to persecute 

maverick scientists 

anymore. Other 

scientists do It instead. 

52 

Beyond HIV: Assembling 

the AIDS Puzzle 

By Colm Kelleher 

Startling new researcti 

sheds light on 

how HIV causes AIDS- 

58 

Fiction: Grand Prix 

By Simon Ings 

62 

Air Repair 

By Owen Davies 

Engineering solutions to 

global warming 

69 



OMNI (ISBN 0149-8711) Is publisliBd morrtWy In 
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rrgW © 1993 By Omni "~ 

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Printed in U.S.A. 




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OBice Box 3041, Harlan, lA 51537.3041. «ilume 15, Number B. CapyjJ^ 
AH rights raseived. Tel. 1-a0&-2e9-6664; (212) 496-6100. OMI^I is a^^ 
af UP Printed in the USA By R.R. Donnelley S Sons Inc. and distributed in 
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alter, and ail rigtits In portions thereof remain the 
i editors become the property of the magazine. 



FIRST lAJORD 



POST-TIENANMEN SQUARE POLITICS: 

Should scientists engage in human-rights campaigns? 

By Fang Li Zhi and Richard Dicker 



J^^mid the protests marking 
*^^^the third anniversary of 
m % tlie killings around Tien- 
anmen Square, the Chinese gov- 
ernment received a petition with 
the signatures of more than 40 
prominent American scientists, in- 
cluding 11 Nobel laureates. 
Among them were Linus Pauling, 
Hans Bethe, Burton Richter, and 
Herbert Brown. They were offer- 
ing their prestige and support to 
Liu Gang, a former physics stu- 
dent whose story is galvanizing 
the scientific community in the 




the Chinese M'.:- 
DJGker irlijiE.. 
is direclor ot the 
committee. 



United States and in Europe in 
the way the cases of imprisoned 
dissidents in the former Soviet Un- 
ion did more than a decade ago. 
Liu, who was number 3 on the 
government's post-Tienanmen 
Square list of "most wanted" stu- 
dent leaders, was sentenced to 
six years in prison in February 
1991. He has led several hunger 
strikes in prison and has been se- 
verely tortured. Last August, a re- 
port was smuggled out of 
Lingyuan Prison, where Liu is be- 
ing held, detailing the conditions 
for political prisoners there; beat- 
ings by guards, torture with elec- 
tric batons, and punitive solitary 
confinement. According to sourc- 



es, electric batons had been ap- 
plied to Liu's genitals, 

The physics community react- 
ed vigorously to this horrifying re- 
port: 360 U.S.-based physicists 
issued a dramatic appeal to the 
Chinese government calling for 
Liu Gang's release. The signato- 
ries included Kurt Gottfried, Nico- 
laas Bloembergen, and Herman 
Winick, Another more highly 
charged arena for this growing hu- 
man-rights activism was the 
round of international scientific 
conferences held in China in 
1992. At the 21st International Con- 
ference on the Physics of Semi- 
conductors (ICPS-21), which 
took place in Beijing last August, 
participants took significant 
steps to raise human-rights is- 
sues. One American physicist, 
Horst Stormer, the initial speaker 
at the important first plenary ses- 
sion, spoke out on behalf of free- 
dom of expression. Two other 
Americans, aided by other partic- 
ipants, circulated a petition to Pre- 
mier Li Peng, which called for the 
release of Liu Gang. The petition 
gathered nearly 75 signatures. A 
Polish participant, Piotr Bo- 
guslawski, who dedicated his pa- 
per to persecuted physicists, lat- 
er said, "In our case, being from 
Eastern Europe, we had experi- 
ence We knew that pressure 
from the outside worked. Western 
opinion did have an influence for 
us. We did not have a moment's 
hesitation at ICPS-21 ." These ac- 
tivities became the main topic in 
the Corridors and at informal eve- 
ning meetings. Discussion 
raged over whether it was appro- 
priate to take these actions, and 
many people — foreign and Chi- 
nese — came up and thanked 
those who had spoken out, Simi- 
lar actions occurred at the 19th 
International Congress of Entomol- 
ogy held in Beijing. 
. Throughout this summer, anoth- 
er series of significant internation- 



al scientific meetings will take 
place in China, including the 34th 
Congress of the International Un- 
ion of Pure and Applied Chemis- 
try and the International Con- 
gress of Crystallography Despite 
claims by the Chinese govern- 
ment that all students who had "vi- 
olated the law in 1989" have been 
released from prison, Liu Gang 
remains in "strict punishment 
regime" at Lingyuan. While ques- 
tions about raising prisoner cases 
at these events do arise, past ex- 
perience offers real guidance: 




Should scientists be engaging in 
these types of activities?Jhete is 
a longstanding tradition of scien- 
tists undertaking human-rights 
campaigns. These are not politi- 
cal activities. Rather, they are 
aimed at protecting fundamental 
human-rights values such as free- 
dom of expression. 

Can scientists mal<e a difference'^ 
Based on the experience of hu- 
man-rights campaigns for prison- 
ers in many countries, repeated 
mention focuses attention on a 
prisoner's case and puts the au- 
thorities on notice that there Is in- 
ternational concern. Rather than 
leading to more abusive treat- 



onn 



I CDnnnnumicATioms 

READERS' WRITES: 

Science unsullied, of egos .and egalitarianism, 

and can you hack a bit more off the sides? 



Nobody Does II Better 
Congratulations to Kathleen Stein [Fo- 
rum, December 1992] for her impres- 
sive record of Interview articles in Om- 
ni I am a long-time subscriber primari- 
ly because of the Interview articles, No 
other magazine does it so well. 

Sharon P. Bailey 
Rochester, NY 

Hate Those Split Ends 
The article "The Walking Way" [Janu- 
ary 1993] on bipedal locomotion was in- 
teresting, but I want to know if anyone 
has considered another attribute that is 
un que to us and has had a strong in- 
fluence on our tendency to invent 
tools: hair on our heads that never 
stops growing (for most of us anyway), 
I can think of no other species of ani- 
n al with hair Ihal grows without stop- 
ping and must be cut to be managea- 
ble Has a researcher Investigated tfie 
connection between the need to cut our 
h^r and the development of tools? In 
addition, since we don't wear down our 
fingernails with quadrupedal travel and 
di some point began wearing shoes, we 
probably had an early need for tools to 
manage nail growth, too, 

Susanne dels 
Seattle, WA 

Blame Not 

I am a scientist who completely dis- 
agrees with Bryan Appleyard's message 
[First WDrd, February /March 1993], Mr, 
Appleyard forgot one important thing: 
Science in itself is nothing except a 
game of the mind. It looks like he takes 
technology for science itself. The import- 
ant thing about science is what you do 
with it. I'm disappointed that he carries 
a message saying "science kills spiri- 
tuality." It's like saying fire kills children — 
so let's get rid of fire — when by acci- 
dent a house burns down. 

C. Gilles Lalancette 
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada 

Passion and Productivity 

Dennis Embry's First Word [December 
1 992] approach to "reducing violence" 
a[ pears to be based on an uninformed 



perception of science and its relation- 
ship to humanity. Acts of aggression, 
hoarding and greedy self-interest, hos- 
tility, and even mistrust remind me of 
what may have been necessary traits 
of our distant ancestors. Embry believes 
the resulting violence and unproductive 
behavior from such "negative" emotions 
may be suppressed by substituting "vio- 
lent acts with neutral or kind acts," He 
makes me wonder what a neutral glob- 
al community, one without ambition or 
drive, would be like. Can a community 
exist without the individual? 

Mark Tyler 
Denver, CO 

On the Battlefront 

Your article on cancer [February/March 
1993] and alternative therapies omitted 
a natural substance that has been 
documented for years: vitamin B-17, 
otherwise known as laetrile. Laetrile has 
been shown to act as an extremely ef- 
fective "toxin-toting torpedo," as you re- 
ferred to such substances in your ar- 
ticle. It's widely used by holistic heal- 
ers in this country in its natural form and 
is available in Mexico as an injectable 
fluid. I,aetrile is naturally prevalent in sub- 
stances such as the seeds of apples 
and apricots, among other things. The 
FDA, the National Cancer Institute, and 
now Omni have ignored laetrile, 

John G. IvlcfVlanus 
Wakefield, MA 

When Only a Miracle Will Do 
The Biblical account of the Red Sea part- 
ing when the wind blew [Continuum, Feb- 
ruary/March 1993] neither proves nor 
disproves believers' versus disbelievers' 
views on this wonder. The fact that a 
"strong east wind blew all night" is a nat- 
ural phenomenon, but the true miracle 
is that it occurred when it was needed 
by the Israelites. Most Biblical scholars 
now agree that all of the Old Testament 
miracles can be explained by natural 
phenomena except for their timing at 
the moment of need. That's wfiy they 
are truly "miracles," 

Arnold J. Wolf, D,P,M. 
Houston, TXOa 



TRAVEL 

THE ELECTRONIC CAMPOUT: 
High-tech trekking keeps nature intact 

By Wallace Kaufman 



Ocean views: The 



of nonterey 

Bay AquKlum cap- 

lura life al 

the iiDttom of the 




It's an irritating paradox. The 
trekking of nature lovers pos- 
es a threat to the very environ- 
ments thsy endeavor to cele- 
brate. Mow, however, technol- 
ogy—so often a threat to pristine 
wilderness— may actually piay a 
role in preserving it. 

Electronic eavesdropping's 
first frontier was the deep ocean, 
where access is almost as limited 
as It Is in outer space. At Califor- 
nia's Monterey Bay Aquarium, for 
example, visitors settle down in 
front of a large video screen and 
share a 3,000-foot dive with sci- 
entists exploring deep-sea can- 
yons not far away. 

In ttie auditorium, an educator 
guides the viewers, commenting 
on the live transmission. When 
something unusual comes into 
view, he calls up stored footage 
from a laser disk. A scientist ap- 
pears on screen to explain a 
thick fall of marine snow or the sud- 
den arrival of a bizarre hagfish. 

Not only does the scientists' 
camera take a visitor's eye 
where the body cannot go, but it 
can see in darkness what would 
leave the human eye blind. Engi- 
neers have modified the camer- 
as for sensitivity to the blue- 
green light of ocean depths us- 
ing technology developed for 
submarine infrared periscopes. A 







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silicon intenslfier brightens the im- 
ages a thousand times. 

"There is no other camera like 
it," says Steve Etchemendy op- 
erations manager for the Mon- 
terey Bay Aquarium Research In- 
stitute. Next year, the Institute 
will place a time-lapse camera on 
the sea floor. 

Aquarium officials note a posi- 
tive change in audiences. Visitors 
usually stand in front of a tank or 
display for less than a minute. But 
they stay with the live link an av- 
erage of 31 .7 minutes. 

On dry land, technology is still 
fighting suspicion that it corrupts 
our relationship with nature. To 
overcome the resistance, the tech- 
nology is establishing a beach- 
head where we are most willing 
to accept help — among things mi- 
croscopic and miniature. 

Using devices known as Bio- 
scanners, visitors at institution's 
such as the Smithsonian's Natu- 
ral History Museum and the 
North Carolina Zoological Park 
enter the insect world eyeball to 
compound eyeball. Created by 
New Zealand's Optech Interna- 
tional, the device places the visi- 
tor at simple controls outside a 
closet-sized box full of terrariums. 
The viewer chooses which insect 
to visit, focuses a miniature cam- 
era, and the undisturbed insect 
appears on a 20-inch screen. 
What more do you need to get a 
kid's attention than a TV screen 
and a joystick? 

Opiech is also developing a 
night-vision system and an under- 
water Aquascanner whose joy- 
stick-driven zoom camera lets the 
dry visitor explore shallow pools 
and their critters. The newest 
Innovation: the Terra-trakker, 
whose weatherproof camera can 
stand anywhere in a wild habitat- 
Inside a bear- resistant clear Lex- 
an Dome or a fiberglass tree — 
while the viewer operates it by re- 
mote control from a distant plat- 



form. Some systems come with 
more than one camera, allowing 
the user to change viewpoints fast- 
er than a cameraman on foot or 
in a safari jeep. 

The National Park Service's in- 
terpretive Design Center, based 
in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, 
Is also creating technological 
aids for the ecosystems it man- 
ages. Senior producer Tom 
Klelman combines laser disks, 
camcorders, and computers to 
do "thin'gs that were only possi- 
ble in dreams a few years ago." 

To protect campers and hikers 
from wilderness tragedy, guard 
the land from abuse, and save 
the Park Service from visitor law- 
suits, Klelman created a video of 
simulated wilderness experi- 
ences foi: Alaska's Denali Nation- 
al Park. Using a touch-screen com- 
puter, viewers choose a range of 
worse-case scenarios, from bear 
attacks to river crossings, 

Technology under develop- 
ment in research labs may put fu- 
ture generations of electronic 
campers where even ardent wil- 
derness advocates like Edward 
Abbey and David Brower never 
went. Vision researcher, Robert 
Barlow, of Syracuse University's 
institute for Sensory Research, 
has developed means for moni- 
toring and deciphering the trans- 
mission from a horseshoe crab's 
eye to its brain and vice versa. 
He is close to fitting free-roaming 
crabs with tiny transducers that 
tap single optic-nerve fibers and 
transmit data on modulated sonar 
signals to a video recording sys- 
tem. The goal: to see nature as 
other beings see it. 

Exploring wilderness with elec- 
tronics and computers may 
seem less satisfying to the puhst 
than stalking wildlife across a tan- 
gible landscape, but it's kinder to 
both the habitats and the ani- 
mals. And there is little doubt 
what fhey would choose. DQ 



IAJHEEL5 

AUTOVISION: 

The art of driving while watching TV 

By Steve Nadis 



Using a pro- 
leclor mounted 
near the dome 
light, AuioVision 
beams TV im- 
ages to a malcii- 
boolt-sizeil 
mirror lens near 



^^ ^^ illions of cellular 
I I I I phones have been In- 
I w I stalled in U.S. cars 
with minimal debate over the ef- 
fects these devices have on driv- 
er safety. Similarly, extensive safe- 
ty research was done prior to the 
introduction of electronic naviga- 
tion systems or HUD (Head-Up 
Display) units, v/hich enable dnv- 
ers io monitor speed and other 
car functions without removing 
their eyes from the road. But just 




the windshielii. 
Due to an 
opiical illusion, 
the ulcture 
appears to float 
about a doz- 
en feet in front 
of the car. 



mention the idea of watching tel- 
evision while driving a car, and 
people go nuts. "Why does 
everyone consider this so crazy?" 
asks Jay Schiffman. "Is there 
some scientific basis for that be- 
lief? Absolutely not, if it's done us- 
ing our patented methodology 
and configuration." 

Schiffman, an electrical engi- 
neer from Farmlngton Hills, Ivlich- 
igan, has researched car dis- 
plays and TV systems since the 
late 1960s. A configuration he's 
demonstrated, AutoVision, is be- 
ing prepared for commercializa- 
tion in Europe and the Far East 
in about two years. It uses a pro- 
jector, mounted near the dome 
light, which beams TV images to 
a matchbook-sized mirror lens 
near the windshield. Owing to an 
optical illusion, the picture ap- 
pears to float above the horizon, 
a dozen feet in front of the car. 
It's like looking at a 12-inGhTVset 



from across a room, except 
there's no TV and no room. 

The natural instinct is to dis- 
miss the Idea as sheer lunacy. 
Drivers face enough distractions 
in this wacky world. Do we really 
want them watching TV, too? Yet 
AutoVision can'i be dismissed so 
easily. Today, 17 states have no 
restrictions against drivers watch- 
ing TV, The usual option, small 
plug-in units that sit on the dash, 
are much more dangerous than 
AutoVision, because drivers 
have to take their eyes off the 
road to watch a show. More im- 
portant, vehicle navigation sys- 
tems are already a reality. An Au- 
toVision-type unit performs that 
function, displaying traffic informa- 
tion rather than daytime soaps. It 
may be preferable to the systems 
used today, computerized maps 
mounted below the windshield. 

Schiffman claims AutoVision has 
been road tested by more than 
400 drivers on more than half a 
million miles "without a single in- 
cident." He vouches for its safe- 
ty on other grounds: A driver can 
only see the picture if he's look- 
ing straight ahead, "in the place 
God had ordained you ought to 
be looking," Because the TV is on- 
ly seen with one eye, the driver's 
view of traffic, stoplights, and haz- 
ards is never blocked. According 
to Schiffman, AutoVision also can 
reduce accidents by keeping peo- 
ple alert, "A bored driver is an ac- 
cident-prone driver," 

In 1989, Schiffman sought the 
views of independent experts. 
While the panelists stopped 
short of endorsing AutoVision, 
they agreed that the concept war- 
ranted further study "Many peo- 
ple assume it would be hazard- 
ous, but that's not necessarily 
true," says D. Alfred Owens, an 
experimental psychologist at 
Franklin and Marshall College in 
Lancaster, Pennsylvania. One 
problem, he notes, is that we still 



don't understand how drivers do 
as well as they do, with only one 
fatality for evety 50 million vehi- 
cle miles traveled. "Once we 
understand that, we'll be better 
equipped to evaluate systems 
like AutoVision." 

Another panelist. University of 
Michigan Transportation Re- 
search Institute's Paul Green con- 
curs. "Considering how much 
time Americans spend in cars — 
typically more than an hour per 
day— it's amazing how little we 
know, 1 can give you a detailed 
description of how people fly air- 
planes but not how they drive a 
car." Data, for instance, on 
where drivers focus their attention 
and for how long is virtually non- 
existent. In 1991, Green helped 
draft a new Michigan law permit- 
ting AutoVision and other display 
systems to be tested on the 
roads. Research, using simula- 
tions, begun last year at the uni- 
versity indicates that AutoVision- 
like systems can effectively con- 
vey traffic and navigation informa- 
tion to drivers. "We still don't 
know about the entertainment 
part," Green admits. 

The biggest concern is "cog- 
nitive capture," a term coined by 
Ann Arbor engineering psychol- 
ogist Daniel Wfeintraub. "If the dis- 
play is too compelling, a driver 
might be looking at the right 
place without really paying atten- 
tion." This issue could affect pro- 
gramming; It may be safe for driv- 
ers to watch dull shows like Wall 
Sireet Week in Review, but not su- 
perriveting ones like Jeopardy! 

The greatest benefit of Auto- 
Vision, Owens says, may lie in the 
realm of education, not entertain- 
ment. "The issues presented by 
this technology will challenge us 
to learn a lot more about driving 
than we know right now. That 
knowledge, in turn, can help us 
appraise other technologies that 
come down the pipe. "DO 



POLITICAL SCIEfUCE 

STAR WARS: THE NEXT GENERATION 

Has the time for particle beams arrived after ail? 

By Tom Dworetzi<;y 



■ ^% ■ ashington's mood 
I I I I right now about Star 
^» %^ Wars research is to 
bring il down to Earth, Forget the 
ICBMs and focus more on so- 
called theater defense. That 
means building super-PatriotS' — 
antimissiles that actually work — 
to protect our troops against 
SCUD-style World War II vintage 
rockets. Such antimissiles are con- 
structible today with off-the-shelf 
components, and they should be 
developed and deployed. But 
slashing the biliion-a-year ad- 
vanced-technology Star Wars 




Will new and bet- 
ter Patriot 
missiles be able 
to Qintect us 
in a WDttd ot pro- 
Ijteraling— 
and Increaslnsly 
galltically 
unstable— Third 
World iCBM 
players? 



budget to aciiieve this short- 
term goal is a long-term mistake. 

At least that's what I argued 
with my mother, the world feder- 
alist, and, boy, did she bless me 
out for it. More money for the mil- 
itary just perpetuates the problem 
of violence, she argued. But 
there's violence, and then 
there's violence, I said to her. 

If we're going to cut down our 
Department of Defense budget — 
our ability to project offensive 
strength around the globe, 
which I'm in favor of — we must 
look at the transitional period be- 
tween the Cold War and a single- 
world government. What we've 
got now in the wake of the break- 
down of superpower hegemony 
is a nasty brew of high-tech weap- 
onry mixed in with violent tribal 



and regional conflict. To get 
from here to world federalism, we 
have to develop the technology 
that will put teeth into the loose 
confederation operating under 
the United Nations' blue banner. 
That's right, I'm talking about the 
antiintercontinenlal-ballistic- 
missile missile blues again. 

I really don't like the idea of 
supporting military R&D, but I 
feel compelled to agree with 
those Slrangeloveans who say 
the time for effective antimissile 
defenses has arrived. The prob- 
lem: Nuclear proliferation is inev- 
itable. Missile technology is grow- 
ing more accessible to even the 
poorest countries, and the old 
rules no longer apply That is, Mu- 
tually Assured Destruction was 
based on tlie existence of only 
two major ICBM players— the 
United States and the former 
U.S.S.R^and now we have many 
players. Simply stated, if a nuke 
lands on Des Moines, we won't 
necessarily know who to strike 
back against; thus, we need to de- 
velop the ability to protect our- 
selves (and ultimately others) 
against the random hit. 

It would be nice to think that 
we'll be able to stop nuclear wan- 
nabes from getting their hands on 
weapons of mass destruction. 
But we can't, so a United States 
Star Wars system is, I have to 
say ttie only reasonable {though 
regrettable) option. 

It might also be the first step 
toward a global system, one that 
ihe'United Nations could some- 
day control . The power to extend 
ICBM protection to recalcitrant 
nations {or withdraw it from them) 
would finally give the world body 
the serious bargaining clout it so 
desperately needs to bring dip- 
lomatic resolution to many of the 
bloody tribal and national factions 
that are springing up at the end 
of the imperial millennium. 

Star Wars spinoffs, especially 



in the area of autonomous robots, 
might also prove important 
enough to justify the concept of 
getting your money's worth from 
military spending. 

In fact, Star Wars could well do 
for robotics what code breaking 
in the Forties did in the realm of 
computing — become the driving 
force leading to key break- 
throughs — especially in the fields 
of machine vision, navigation, 
and logic. For Star Wars to work 
at all, it must be able to see and 
differentiate real from dummy war- 
heads, assign interceptors, and 
make sure they'll get there. And 
do all that in less than 15 minutes. 
The problems posed by these 
challenges extend beyond to- 
day's computing capability and 
sensing technology, so Strategic 
Defense Initiative researchers are 
developing such exotic devices 
as optical computers that use 
light instead of wires to pack 
much more computing power, 
and broad-band sensors to "see" 
the spectrum from ultraviolet to in- 
frared, using tunneling microsco- 
py sensitivity to pick up warheads 
against the night sky. 

In the long term, even the Star 
Wars equipment that has evoked 
such mockery— beam weapons — 
has tremendous civilian potential. 
This same technology, when har- 
nessed for peace, could etch com- 
puter chips with a resolution a 
hundred times finer than the 
ones we make today 

Packing that much into a small- 
er space, along with advances in 
sensors and optical computing, 
could actually produce the stuff 
that our robotics dreams are 
made of. At the same time, I don't 
see that Star Wars would make 
this corner of the galaxy any 
more dangerous than it already 
is, considering all those nuclear- 
tipped missiles poised for the 
black market. In fact, it might 
make our world a little safer, DO 



ELECTnomic 

UmiVERSE 

THE BEST OF 1993: 

A glimpse at tomorrow's electronto fun 

By Gregg Keizer 



^ 



l|^ 



Wiatthe 
hiture holds: see- 
ing liie world 
IhriH^Sega'sHr- 
Ufa VR gog- 
gles, and a few 
nol-SB-sUi- 
pjd pel 
"- triclis— lIKe 
Elfish 



Betting on the future is a 
job best left to profession- 
als as any fool can see 
simply by pulling down a copy of 
last June's "Electronic Universe" 
column. Okay, so I wasn't right all 
the time, But I was close. 

So, even though the year's but 
half gone, I'll give the crystal ball 
one more try and post Omni's 
Top Ten for 1993. 

TOP TEN REASONS WHY 
1993 WAS GOOD FOR GAMES: 

10. Strike Commander shipped. 
One of last year's predictions 
that never happened, Strike Com- 
mander, the high priest of flight 
simulators, really did make it out 
of the disk duplicator. So, too, did 
other no-shows from last yegr, 
like Buzz Aldrin's Race into 
Space and Jordan in Flight The 
year's bets for Great, but Really 
Late? Interplay's StoneKeep, a 
dungeon-crawling simulation, 
and Spectrum HoloByte's Star 
Trek: The Next Generation video- 
and computer games. 

9. Sex sold. Kids may have cor- 
nered the market on video- and 
computer games for years, but 




grownups finally saw the faint 
light of adult storylines and situ- 
ations. Fueled in part by CDs on 
such systems as Philips' CD-ln- 
leractive machine (Voyeur) and 
Sega CD {Night Trap), the first of- 
ferings weren't much, but they do 
show what's coming. Look for the 
first X-rated game soon. 

8. They built a better mouse- 
trap. The incredible (Machine, a 
hard-to-categorize game that 
blended arcade action and puz- 
zle solving, was one cool way to 
waste tons of time in 1993. From 
Dynamix, part of Sierra, The In- 
credible Machir^e let you assem- 
ble Rube Goldbergesque contrap- 
tions to solve increasingly difficult 
puzzles, Like the board game 
"Mousetrap" that it sometimes re- 
sembled. The Incredible Machine 
was best when balls rolled and lev- 
ers sprung. 

7, David Letterman went to 
CBS. Nothing to do with games, 
but anytime you put a list in re- 
verse order, the guy gets credit. 
6. Call me Bubba, he said. With 
a Southerner in the White House, 
it's a good year for Sid Meier's lat- 
est simulation. Based on the Civ- 
War, this as-yet-unnamed 
game (at press time, any- 
way] lets you replay the war that 
made PBS famous. If Meier can 
duplicate the phenomenal suc- 
cess of his last effort, the outstand- 
ing Civilization, this may be the 
game to be played by the Bub- 
ba Twins, Clinton and Gore. 

5. Jane Fonda not only did the 
Tofnahawk Chop, she played vid- 
eogames, too. Sega may have 
slipped behind Nintendo in the 
16-bit game department, but its 
hardware is second to none. The 
Activator, a ring of plastic you 
stand in, let everyone work off a 
few extra pounds playing video- 
games. Kick your leg, and the 
character kicked hers, too. Fit- 
ness cartridges can't be far be- 
hind. Even funkier was Sega's Vir- 



tua vn. a set of virtual reality-like 
goggles you snapped over your 
eyes for some literal in-your-face 
videogame action. 

4. Fish swam; fields got 
plowed. Tlie ultimate in screen sav- 
ers, junk-food software, was El- 
Fish. Maxis' aquarium in the PC. 
You got to build and breed fish, 
then add tons of accessories 
like plants and a castle for the gup- 
pies, Maxis' other release, 
SimFarm, may not have had the 
appeal of its urban counterpart, 
SimGity, but for anyone who want- 
ed to work 1^e land without get- 
ting their hands dirty, it was the 
best thing since someone invent- 
ed Roundup. 

3. SNES Ruled. Although a 
tour through the videogame 
aisle at Toys 'R' Us is like a walk 
through a ghetto of creativity — 
how many different ways can you 
punch a cartoon character on the 
screen, anyway? — the Su- M 
per Nintendo picks were a^^ 
tops in 1993, thanks in part ''^ 
to such terrific cartridges as Nin- 
tendo's own Star Fox, a 3-D 
space-flight simulator, and Elec- 
tronic Arts' Bulls vs. Blazers and 
the NBA Playoffs. 

2. 3D0 rhymed with "Stan- 
dards, Mo' and Mo'." Yet anoth- 
er CD-based game machine 
shoved itself — and its "stand- 
ard" — into the home and down de- 
velopers' throats. But the 3D0 
black box, built by Japan and 
backed by Time-Warner and 
AT&T, actually made it in- 
to homes, in part because of its fu- 
ture promise as a superdeluxe ca- 
ble and movie-on-demand con- 
troller. This year games; next year 
HBO; 1995— the toaster. 

1 , Nintendo still owned the Mar- 
iners, Now if only we could get So- 
ny to buy the Dallas Mavericks 
and Sega to pick up the New Eng- 
land Patriots, we'd be able to un- 
load all the cellar-sucking teams 
on the Japanese. DO 



EARTH 

FOOD FIGHT: 

Burger deluxe, hold the biotech 

By Linda Marsa 




Chels surprise 

Chef Rick 

Moonen (seated 

second from 

left) rariied 

alarmed colleagues 

to loin the 

Pure Food Cam 

paigo, led by 

Jeremy Rilkin (Uilrd 

from left). 



S houHtledaga M,it eb^ckd p 
of the IsIpw York =ky ne n ore 
thar ''0 of Ma ihatld i s top chefs 
gathPFPd at tl e eleaant Wate 
r ub last J ie o ca ior ra'^tau 
taitsto boyLOtt geietc^ y enqi 
reered foodt. But ti e'^p werei t 
just a bunch of pt blic iy seek g 
foodisb in d snit beuause, as one 
reporter scoffed, "genetic jockeys 
were riding roughshod over their 
gastronomic Eden " These self- 
styled stewards of the earth 
were mad as hell over the U.S. 
Food and Drug Administration's 
decision not to test or label al- 
tered fruits and vegetables. 

The response of the men and 
women in while .toques was 
swift — and surprising in its solidar- 
ity. In short order, nearly 2,000 of 
the nation's culinary superstars — 
among them Spago's Wolfgang 
Puck, Alice Waters of Chez Pan- 
isse, and the Russian Tea 
Room's Paul Ingenito— joined 
their fellow chefs in the Pure 
Food Campaign. They plastered 
the boycott's logo, a double he- 
lix with a diagonal red slash, on 
the walls of their establishments. 
"We're responsible for what we 
serve our customers," says 
Wolfgang Puck. "We want to 
know exactly what's in the food 
we buy and what Ihe possible con- 
sequences are," 

America's celebrity chefs say 
their opposition to so-called 
"Frankenfoods" isn't just about 



compromising culinary purity. 
They fear shuffling genes from 
plants and animals like a deck of 
cards could inadvertently unleash 
deadly toxins and allergens on un- 
suspecting consumers. At the 
very least, this technology raises 
ethical, religious, and medical di- 
etary concerns. 

But agribusiness representa- 
tives dismiss the chefs as "nutri- 
tional neurotics," calling their 
movement just another example 
of fuzzy-headed environmental 
terrorism. And officials at the 
FDA, the focal point of this furor, 
wonder, why all the fuss? 

The opening volley of this bat- 
tle was fired on May 26, 1992, 
when then-Vice President Dan 
Quayle announced the new FDA 
rules on the same day that City 
Hall was honoring 50 of New 
York's premier chefs for their con- 
tributions to tourism, "A reporter 
asked my opinion about the FDA 
announcement," says Rick Moon - 
en, executive chef at ihe Water 
Club, "I had no idea this was hap- 
pening. I was completely taken 
aback." Moonen relayed the in- 
formation to more than two doz- 
en alarmed colleagues, 

indeed, numerous companies, 
including Monsanto, Upjohn, Cal- 
gene, and Frito-Lay, are using bi- 
otechnology to produce novel 
strains of fruits, vegetables, poul- 
try, fish, and livestock that are re- 
sistant to diseases, drought, 
cold, and herbicides or to en- 
hance their ripening, taste, or nu- 
tritional value. 

The first of these high-tech hy- 
brids, Calgene's FlavrSavr toma- 
to — which contains a bacterial 
gene that delays rotting to give it 
a longer shelf life — will debut 
this year. In the pipeline: potatoes 
with wax-moth genes to retard 
bruising, tomatoes with flounder 
genes to render them frost-resis- 
tant, and corn altered with firefly 
genes. Experts predict genetical- 



ly engineered plants will blossom 
into a $300-million-a-year busi- 
ness by 2002. 

But bottom-line concerns mo- 
tivated America's eco-chefs, too, 
They worry diners will suffer un- 
expected allergic reactions, 
which would expose them to pos- 
sible liability. There's also poten- 
tial problems for vegetarians. Or- 
thodox Jews, Moslems, and Bud- 
dhists when animal genes are 
implanted in vegetables. 

The FDA, however, doesn't un- 
derstand the outrage. These 
guidelines parallel their "general- 
ly regarded as safe" (G.R.A.S,) 
policy: Products made from com- 
ponents known to be safe don't 
need to undergo extensive ap- 
proval procedures. Thus, splicing 
genes from foods recognized as 
safe won't change their compo- 
sition, and these genes won't be 
considered food additives. 

"All plant breeding involves ge- 
netic manipulation." explains 
James H. Maryanski, biotechnol- 
ogy coordinator for the FDA's Cen- 
ter for Food Safety and Applied 
Nutrition. "The only real difference 
is these techniques have greater 
power and precision." 

But critics think otherwise, 
"Though many genetically engi- 
neered organisms are likely to be 
safe, if even a small percentage 
becomes hazardous, the conse- 
quences could be catastrophic to 
a species or an ecosystem," 
says Jeremy Rifkin, president of 
the Pure Food Campaign and a 
long-time foe of biotechnology 

So far, the Pure Food Cam- 
paign, which is recruiting restau- 
rants, grocery stores, disthbutors, 
and growers to join the boycott, 
seems to have won the first 
round. New York City may enact 
a mandatory labeling law, and 
the FDA is reconsidering its orig- 
inal stance. Ultimately, though, 
this high-tech food fight may be 
settled in the supermarket. OQ 



ihe country 
that will never 
become a city. 

JustdutsiJi I il^in \lbeU"' 
jiist )nts!de tk shadows iit its 
rtpidh growing ^h hue lies lULh 
2000 aivildliithjliitat AtJiH\ 
log p itLh\\uikut me iduw'i and 
turests sjnred h nm dr\ ebpment 

Because penpltwhnwoil- neu 
b\ tiipiitiieiship^MthilieNdiuie 
LoiisLH UK\ i)t{ iiiadnndthe 
tiniiK wliodun^tcdthi UniJ led 
the etb lit ro presenc this iu\en 
tuie\ei. 

Do people |)rotect places » 
nature can live free? 

People Do. 

Chevron / 




i 



AfUlfVlALS 



WHO YOU CALLING DUMBO? 

Researchers test the elephant's mighty memory 

By Steve Nadis 



It looks like child's play. Re- 
searchers at the Indianapolis 
Zoo place apples in eight cov- 
ered pots arranged in a large cir- 
cle. They guide an elephant to 
the center of the circle, turn him 
around, and then challenge him 
to find the apples— one at a 
time. True to the common wis- 
dom, the elephant rarely forgets 
where he's been before. During 
the game, he routinely collects sev- 
en to eight apples. 

Inspired by the old adage, "el- 
ephants never forget," which 
first surfaced in modern lore ii 




Intrigued by 
decades oi canmel- 
ling anecdaial 
evidence, research- 
ers are putting 
the elenliant's brain 
power to Hie 
lesl In time, they 
bope tbe intoi^ 
malion will help 
preserve the 
imgeriled species. 



a long tradition. Investigators 
have been testing the elephant's 
memory for decades. 

Anecdotal evidence already 
suggests that elephants, which 
possess the largest brain of any 
land animal, are intelligent crea- 
tures with impressive memories. 
The animals can learn up to 100 
commands. After mastering 
tricks, circus elephants seem 
able to recall them indefinitely, 

Bernhard Rensch carried out 
some of the eariiest laboratory ex- 
periments at Germany's Munster 
Zoo in the 1 950s, He taught a five- 
year-old Indian elephant to single 



out the correct choice among 20 
pairs of cards, each containing a 
different visual pattern. Tested a 
year later, the elephant per- 
formed admirafciiy. 

Leslie Squier, a psychologist at 
Oregon's Reed College, subject- 
ed three female etephants to sim- 
ilar "visual discrimination" tests in 
1964, A fire destroyed his origi- 
nal data, so the researcher re- 
peated the tests more than eight 
years later, "The first elephant 
strode right up to the apparatus 
without hesitation." notes Hal 
Markowitz, a zoologist at San Ran- 
cisco State Universfe wtxj collab- 
orated with Squier. '"■She knew ex- 
actly what to do." 

These results — combined with 
the observations of zookeepers. 
trainers, and scientists in the 
field— indicate that elephants can 
remember things for a long time. 
"But ihey don't tell us anything 
about how they do that," says But- 
ler University psychologist 
Robert Dale, who launched the In- 
dianapolis Zoo experiments to 
shed light on that puzzle a year 
ago. "We're trying to identify the 
memory strategy elephants use — 
in the same way, for instance, 
that people rely on a strategy to 
memorize numbers," says Melis- 
sa Shyan, a Butler psychologist, 

The Indianapolis team is par- 
ticularly interested In spatial mem- 
ory — that is, how the elephants re- 
member the locations they've 
been to. Observers in Namibia, 
for example, have marveled at 
the" ability of desert elephants to 
find watering holes more than 
100 miles apart that they haven't 
visited for months. How do they 
know where to go? 

Dale hopes to provide some 
clues with the find-the-apple 
tests, at which elephants do very 
well. The studies mimic "radial 
arm mazes" that scientists have 
used to test the memory of 
snakes, cockroaches, mice, rats, 



chickens, monkeys, and human 
infants. "One obvious way to 
solve the problem would be to re- 
member the last pot you visited 
and then go to the next one on 
the right." Dale says, Rats often 
adopt this strategy, but the ele- 
phants don't. Although certain pat- 
terns have been observed. Dale 
cannot discern any grand 
scheme in the order of pots they 
select, "Apparently this problem 
is so easy for them that they don't 
have to resort to any special strat- 
egy. It's as if they make a mental 
map and check off the places 
they've been to." He suspects, al- 
though he can't yet prove, that 
the animals rely on outdoor land- 
marks — a barn or a fencepost — 
to navigate among the pots. 

The next step is to make the 
task harder — by changing the 
spacing of the pots, by running 
the tests at more frequent inter- 
vals, or by interrupting them for 
long stretches — until memory 
starts to break down. "Those fail- 
ures will tell us more about how 
their memory works than we can 
learn from watching them perform 
flawlessly," Dale says. Scientists 
use a similar technique to im- 
prove our understanding of hu- 
man memory; they study people 
with damaged brains to see 
what functions suffer. 

Other research groups are stu- 
dying elephant cognition and 
memory. Among them, Cornell bi- 
ologist Bill Langbauer is learning 
how elephants process, retain, 
and communicate information. 
One goal: to better define and pro- 
tect the animals' habitat, "The 
more we know about how they 
feed, find water, and communi- 
cate, the more we know about 
the size and quality of the pre- 
serves we need," Langbauer 
says, With the survival of ele- 
phants in jeopardy worldwide, the 
results of such studies will have 
broad implications indeed. DO 



KID 



FINDING THE HUMAN SIDE OF SCIENCE' 

Wise books show kids the people behind the-test tubes 

By Robert K. J, Killheffer 






Too often, kids only en- 
counter science as a 
mass of Jncomprehensi- 
bie equations and abstract ideas 
to be memorized for a test (and 
promptly forgotten). Where histo- 
ry or English classes focus on peo- 
ple, science seems to have no 
ties to the human sphere. Sci- 
ence is not presented as some- 
thing people do, but as some- 
thing that happens to them, an in- 
human force that can transform 
the world, but in which humans 
have no role. 

Small wonder that fewer and 
fewer American children are inter- 
ested in scientific careers. But, 
with care, parents can counter 
the antihuman image of science, 
and there are a number of good, 
solid, entertaining books availa- 
ble to help. 

Last fall, the kids' science- 
book specialists at Dorling Kinders- 




ley launched the "Eyewitness Sci- 
ence" series (aimed at ages 10 
and up), which places science 
concepts in colorful personal and 
historical contexts, in the Matter 
volume, lessons about crystals, 
electricity, and the properties of 
solids and gases are framed by 
the stories of the pioneer scien- 
tists who blazed the trails, includ- 
ing familiar figures like the rev- 
olutionary seventeenth-century 
chemist Robert Boyle and Antoine 



text provide a vital sense of the 
history behind every scientific prin- 
ciple, from the ideas of the an- 
cient Greeks and the mystical 
investigations of the medieval 
alchemists to the innovations of 
the scientific revolution. These 
books are so full of vivid illustra- 
tions and intriguing facts, parents 
may end up fighting their kids for 
a chance to look through them. 
Volumes on Matter, Force & Mo- 
tion, Light, and Eiecthcity were 







Lavoisier, who was the first to dem- 
onstrate the principle of the con- 
servation of matter, as well as 
more obscure personalities, 
such as German organic chem- 
ist Justus von Liebig [1803- 
1873). In the Force & Motion vol- 
ume, kids can see how closely 
scientific inquiry and advance- 
ment are tied to everyday life — 
how pulleys, levers, and other sim- 
ple machines were applied to spe- 
cific tasks, how the early study of 
motion was linked to warfare (sol- 
diers needed the equations of bal- 
listics to aim cannonballs more ac- 
curately), and how studying the 
motion of waves and the wind 
can lead to new sources of ener- 
- gy. Photos of antique equipment 
and lively, information-packed 



published last fall; in April 1993, 
Dorling Kindersley released Chem- 
istry, Energy, and Evolution. 

A couple of other series put 
the people back into the science 
with entertaining biographies of in- 
fluential scientists. Steve Parker's 
"Science Discoveries" series 
(HarperCollins, ages 8 to 12) 
examines the lives and works of 
such preeminent thinkers as Gali- 
leo, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, 
and Thomas Edison, Though Park- 
er's unapologetic championing of 
his scientific heroes over their reli- 
gious opponents won't play well 
in the Bible Belt, these inspiring 
narratives will show kids how im- 
portant personalities have been 
in the advancement of science, 
and how courageous some scien- 



KID STUFF 




Hie lives of 
Galileo 
and Marie Curie 
cai) inspife 
kitis 10 iiiirsue 
science ca- 
reer ol their awn; 
one series 
(top) stiflwcases 
some of 
the possitiililies. 



tists have been in the pursuit and 
defense of their ideas. Likewise, 
a series of "Easy Biographies" 
from Tfoii Associates (ages 9 to 
11) offers enjoyable portrayals of 
science pioneers, focusing more 
on their younger years, showing 
kids how the things tfiey do as 
youngsters can lead to exciting 
and important acfiievements 
down the road. They'll see how 
the bright, young Marie Curie, 
with her exceptional memory and 
precocious reading skills, faced 
discrimination (women were not 
allowed to attend college in her 
native Poland at that time) and per- 
sonal tragedies (the early deaths 
of her mother, sister, and hus- 
band) on the way to winning two 
Nobel Prizes, and how the curi- 
ous young Louis Pasteur ob- 
served the mysteries of disease 
and food spoilage, forming the 
questions as a boy that he 
would later answer as an adult. "If 
you believe in yourself and study 
hard," Louis' father tells him, "any- 
thing is possible" — encouraging 
advice for young scientists every- 
where. Troll's biographies have al- 
so covered Wilbur and Orville 
WrighL Albert Einstein, Thomas 
Edison, and Elizabeth Blackwell, 
with more to come in the future. 
Another Troll series — "A Day in 
the Life of , , ," (ages 9 to 13)— 
shows kids some of the opportu- 
nities open to them in science. 
Each volume offers an up-close 
look at a fascinating science- 
lated occupation, from beekeep- 
er and forest ranger to marine 
biologist and veterinarian. 
Not only will these books in- 
spire young readers to con- 
sider science careers, they j 
also detail the special re- 
quirements and duties of 
each job, so kids will under- 
stand the dedication and 
study that are necessary. 
Troll also publishes a similar se- 
ries aimed at younger (5- to 8- 



year-old) readers: "What's It Like 
to Be . . ." which profiles the ca- 
reers of a doctor, an astronaut, a 
veterinarian, and an airline pilot, 
among others. 

Crown's "Face to Face with Sci- 
ence" series (ages 7 to 11) pro- 
vides a different sort of look at re- 
al scientists at work. In Digging 
Up Tyrannosaurus Rex, paleontol- 
ogist John R. Horner and science 
writer Don Lessem take kids on 
a Montana fossil excavation, and 
they follow the fossil hunter's 
work from the dig to the museum 
labs and finally to the mounting 
and display of the skeleton. Biol- 
ogist Katharine Payne's Ele- 
phants Calling te\]s how she dis- 
covered the subsonic communi- 
cation of elephants and how she- 
continues to study the voices and 
behavior of those great beasts. 
Payne focuses on one cute baby 
elephant she calls Raoul, watch- 



ing him as he follows his mother 
and the rest of the herd across 
the plain to the swamp, plays 
with other young elephants, and 
slips away from the adults for a 
few scary minutes of private ad- 
venture — ending in an encounter 
with a squealing warthog. Vivid 
photographs and a clear, engag- 
ing text bring kids into the world 
of real-life, working scientists on 
the cutting edges of their fields. 
Other titles include Voyager by 
Sally Ride and Tarn O' Shaugh- 
nessy and Tiie Search for the 
Right Whale by Scott Kraus and 
Kenneth Mallory. 

Science doesn't go away just 
because it's ignored; if anything, 
it will be an even more undenia- 
ble part of our world in the future. 
With the help of books like 
ithese, kids will not only learn 
their science better, they'll learn 
what sorts of careers science of- 
fers and how exciting such work 
can be. DO 





CDnjTimuunn 

ARE THE NINJA TURTLES MISINFORMED? 

They know more about pizza than aerosols. Plus, how bears cross the road, 

and what may soon be missing from the salad bar 



One Saturday morning, 
gnable to concentrate on 
the novel I was reading, I 
clicked on the television 
only to witness a quartet of 
renaissance terrapins who 
call themselves the "Teen- 
age Mutant Ninja Turtles" 
deliver the following "lurtle 
tip": The ozone layer, which 
shields us from the sun's 
deadly radiation, is getting 
thinner, and to protect the 
earth, we have to stop "us- 
ing stuff that hurts it, like aer- 
osol spray cans and foam 

cups." Silly reptiles, I thought. Aerosols don't contain CFCs 
(chiorofiuorocarbons) — not ^ymore. 

Recent surveys, however, show that most schoolchildren 
and more than half of adult Americans think aerosol cans are 
dangerous. That, says the aerosol industry is a myth about 
their product fed mostly by the media which seem unaware 
that aerosols have been free of CFCs for 15 years. 

Take, for example, the recurring episode of the G.l. Joe 
TV cartoon series titled "Nozone Conspiracy." In this seg- 
ment, evil Cobra plans to destroy the ozone layer by siphon- 
ing CFCs from giant aerosol tanks of shaving cream. After 
bursting through the protective stratosphere, Cobra intends 
to become a trillionaire by selling Nozone skin cream to eve- 
ryone on Earth for $500 a tube. [Shaving cream didn't use 
CFCs as a propellant even in the mid 1970s.) 

And then there's the Northern Exposure episode in 
which Ruth^Anne holds up a can of aerosol hair spray in her 
store and refers to it as "ozone-depleting spray" 

Even Johnny Carson got on the aerosol-bashing band- 
wagon when he announced In a 1991 monologue that the 
thinning of the ozone layer had been traced to the CFCs in 
Candice Bergen's hair spray. 

In the past two years, there have been at least 200 ex- 
amples of what the three-year-old Washington, DC-based 
Consumer Aerosol Products Council calls "Aerosol/CFC mis- 
information" — evidence that most Americans are unaware 
that CFCs have been banned as aerosol propellants since 
1978 (barring afew government-approved CFC uses such 
as asthma inhalers, which will also be phased out by the 
year 2000), In a massive letter-writing campaign, the group 
has responded to numerous cartoons, talk shows, educa- 
tional books, television and newspaper stories, and advertise- 
ments that give aerosols a bad rap. And after attending a 




r^' ent National Science 
Teachers Association meet- 
ing jvhere 50 percent of the 
fi^achers in attendance admit- 
ted they were unaware that 
aerosols are CFC free, the 
council produced a 13-min- 
ut« video called "The Ae re- 
el Adventure" in order to 
convince schoolchildren 
that aerosols are their 
friends. Said one teacher. 
Its hard to tell my seven- 
ypar olds that the Ninja Tur- 
tles aren't always right." 
With all due respect to the 
hard-shelled heroes, they do appear to be as misinformed 
as the rest of us. A 1 991 survey commissioned by New Jer- 
sey-based Johnson and Sons reports thai while three in ten 
Americans buy products in pumps rather than aerosol 
cans, they have little idea that refrigerants, car air condition- 
ers, solvents, filler material in foam products, and cleaning 
agents — particularly for computer circuitry — do release 
CFCs and are far graver threats to the ozone layer. "By and 
large, the aerosol industry is correct," says University of Cal- 
lfo;nia, Irvine, chemist F Sherwood Rowland who, along 
with MIT's Mario J, Molina, discovered in 1974thatCFCs are 
responsible for the destruction of the earth's ozone layer. 
While the United States accounts for 5 percent of the 
world's population, we produce 30 percent of the 2.4 billion 
tons of ozone-depleting CFCs released into the atmosphere 
each year. If the government went so far as to ban CFCs as 
aerosol propellants and aerosol companies reluctantly 
complied, where is the government leadership that dictates 
policy to the rest of the chemical industry? Many alternatives 
to CFCs are already available, but what is lacking is corpo- 
rate commitment to make the switch. An EPA study reports 
that a 100-percent reduction of CFCs is necessary just to 
stabilize chemicals already in the atmosphere, and Ftowland 
says that while the amount of CFCs going into the atmos- 
phere is "considerably less" than it was, upper-ozone dam- 
age is accelerating at a quickened pace. 

If the media really want to educate their public about sav- 
ing our skies, where it's estimated that CFCs will double over 
the next 50 years, the aerosol industry— the only one required 
to change to safer methods — Is the wrong target. Hair 
spray is not the culprit. Refrigerant leakage (from cars, 
homes), circuitry-cleaning solvents, cleaning agents, and 
blown plastics are.— JUSTINE KAPLAN 




canjTinjLjunn 




Suppose a ship is at sea near 
tne equator. If tl^e captain 
I nows the time, he can 
determine his whereabouts 
by measuring the position of 
a few standard stars. But if 
the c!ocl< he relies on is off by 
just one second, the captain 
will miscalculate his position 
by a quarter mile. 

Seventeen leap seconds 
have been added altogether 
since 1972. If no one had 
bothered to adjust the official 
^clocks, the atomic time and 
% the rotation time would be 17 
seconds out of whack. And 
those hapless mariners 
//ouid have missed their port 
by a good four miles. 

— Steve Nad is 



JUST WAIT A 
SECOND 

If June 30, 1992, seemed like 
a particularly long day, that's 
because it was. At midnight, 
international timekeepers in 
Paris added an extra second 
to the day, 

The addition of this "leap 
second" keeps the time as 
measured by atomic clocks 
close to the time as 
measured the old-fashioned 
way: by the earth's rotation. 
Periodic adjustments are 
needed because the earth's 
rotation is slowing down. The 
tides — which tug the oceans 
in one direction while the 
planet spins in another — 
create friction, just like 
brakes gently applied to a 



spinning wheel. Owing to this 
gradual slowdown, a day in 
the year 2000 will last some 
three milliseconds longer 
than a day back in the good 
old days of 1900. 

International timekeepers 
now add a leap second 
about once every year and a 
half to keep the clocks 
synchronized. By 2020, 
they'll have to insert two leap 
seconds a year. "If we didn't 
do this, we'd eventually get 
out of synch with sunlight," 
explains Dennis McCarthy, 
an astronomer at the U.S. 
Naval Observatory "It would 
be dark at noon." 

The second added last 
June is important not only to 
perfectionists, but to anyone 
who navigates by the stars. 



TEN BOOKS ON A 
SHELF CAN BE 
ARRANGED IN 3,628,000 
DIFFERENT WAYS. 



THE SOLAR- 
HYDROGEN 
CONNECTION 

In 1874, Jules Verne 
speculated that clean- 
burning hydrogen might 
become the fuel of the future. 
Although dozens of proto- 
type hydrogen vehicles have 
hit the pavement recently, 
questions still abound re- 
garding the merits and 
practicality of this fuel A 
three-year demonstration 
project conducted by 
the Center for Environmental 
Research and Technology 
at the University of California 
at Riverside's College of 
Engineehng aims to find 
some answers. 
The system uses solar 



cells to convert sunlight into 

electricity. The electricity in 
turn, is fed to an electrolyzer, 
which creates hydrogen and 
oxygen from water. The 
hydrogen gas then fills 
pressurized fuel tanks that 
will power a modified Ford 
Ranger taick. The entire 
operation was scheduled to 
begin running early this year, 
and it is believed to be the 
first state-funded system that 
uses solar energy to make 
hydrogen fuel for motor 
vehicles, "Where else can 
you convert sunlight to 
hydrogen and then use it for 
transportation?" asks Joe 
Norbeck, the center's direc- 
tor and the project's principal 
investigator. 

Southern California's 
South Coast Air Quality 
Management District 
{SCAQMD) funds the project 
as part of a broad strategy to 
improve air quality, "We want 
to look at things we can do in 
the next few decades, not 
just the next few years," 
explains SCAQMD chief 
scientist Alan Lloyd, 

The project will allow 
Riverside engineering faculty 
and students to conduct the 
first thorough environmental 
appraisal of hydrogen vehi- 
cles while also rating the 
performance of solar-energy 
systems in smoggy areas 
with noticeably reduced 
visibility "We know these 
systems work in a polluted 
environment," Lloyd says, 
"but we still don't know how 
well they work," 

— Steve Nad is 

"If your morals make you 
dreary, depend 
on it, they are wrong. " 
— Robert Louis Stevenson 



CRACKING 
THE SHELL 

Autism is among the most 
stubborn and tragically 
intractable of all develop- 
mental neurologic disorders, 
resulting in extreme social 
withdrawal, communication 
deficits, and repetitive be- 
havior patterns. But now a 
psychiatrist from the National 
Institute ol Mental Health in 
Bettiesda, Maryland, reports 
making new headway in 
treating autistic children. He 
uses a drug called clomi- 
pramine, which has been 
effective in treating obsessive- 
compulsive disorders. 

Since 1990, C. T. Gordon 
has given clomipramine to 25 
autistic children and com- 
pared the results with those 
from deslpramine— another 
antidepressant— and from a 
placebo. While neither des- 
lpramine nor the placebo had 
much impact, clomipramine 
brought about significant 
improvement — less withdraw- 
al and anxiety, fewer angry 
outbursts, and less ritualistic 
behavior. "The children were 
calmer and easier to deal 



with, and they showed 
increased attention span and 
productivity," Gordon says. 
"Their parents were very 
pleased, and eighty percent 
of them chose to continue 
clomipramine treatments af- 
ter the study was over." 
While he stresses that 
clomipramine "is not going to 
make autistic kids unautis- 
tjc," Gordon remains cau- 
tiously optimistic. "Up to 
now," he explains, "nothing 
much has helped with 
autism. But with clomipra- 
mine, we did see improve- 



5ICK PLANTS RUN 
TEMPERATURES 
FROM 0.1 DEGREES 
CENTIGRADE 
TO 2 DEGREES CENTI- 
GRADE HIGHER 
THAN THOSE OF PLANTS 
IN GOOD HEALIH. 



ments in social interaction. 
Many of the kids definitely 
brightened up and showed 
more interest in the people 
around them." — Bill Lawren 





Even fungi wither before the onslaught ot modem pollutants. 



MUSHROOMING 
PROBLEM 

European mushroom collec- 
tors are shaking their heads 
in dismay at their empty 
baskets. The once-abun- 
dant chanterelle, long 
prized by gourmets for its 
delicate scent, and more 
than 100 other mushrooms 
that form "mycorrhiza" — a 
symbiotic relationship with 
trees— have turned as 
scarce as lour-leaf clovers. 
Indeed, Dutch mushroom ■ 
expert Eef Arnolds reports 
that on average, roughly 
half as many of these 
species populate European 
woodlands today as in 
1950. Forests in the 
Netherlands, Germany and 
Czechoslovakia have suf- 
fered the greatest losses, 
Arnolds reports. At a major 
mushroom market in Saar- 
land, Germany, for exam- 
ple, chanterelles and other 
popular mushrooms, called 
boletus, have nearly 
~ vanished from sight. 
The dearth of chanter- 



elles and other mushrooms 
results not from overzeal- 
ous collecting but from 
pollutants produced by 
industry traffic, and mod- 
ern agriculture. The wind 
disperses the main de- 
structive agents— sulfur di- 
oxide, nitrogen oxides, and 
ammonium — which are 
then deposited on trees 
and the forest floor, leading 
to harmful acidification and 
nitrogen accumulation. 

Owing to the lack of US. 
research in this field, 
scientists don't yet know i 
mushroom populaliorK 
here face a simiiarf^e. But 
Arnolds can see "no reaa 
why fungi sttould tea^ 
pollutants any b^ter in 
North America ttan n 
Europe." He emphasEes 
that the impacE of a dK:rine 
would be feK^t3^ond flie 
culinary aiS. "These mush- 
rooms provide nutrients 
and waier for ffees," he , 
says. "When the mycorrtii- 
zae vanish, fliey can take 
with ttiem entire forests." 
—Kathleen McAuliffe , 




comTimuurui 




STRBSS 
SPECS 

Sc^rsdale, 
\iev> York, 
p'iyL hiRtfist 
Richard 
Frenkel recently received a 
paienl for a pair of higli-tech 
specs thai — if ttiey're ever 
produced — could make 
Ray" Bans look positiveiy 
retro. Frenkel's glasses 
monitor a person's stress 
levels by measuring skin 
temperature, electrical con- 
ductance, and perspiration. 



When stress rises above a 
safe level, the glasses issue 
a discreet warning in the 
form of a quiet beep or 
flashing light. The person 
can then slip in a colored 
lens custom designed lo 
calm the wearer. 

If this approach sounds 
unorthodox, it should, be- 
cause Frenkel is the only 
practitioner of "colored-light 
therapy" Although colored 
filters have shown promise 
in boo^itinq the reading '^Hll=' 
of dyslfvc cl Id e md y 
health p fesso asempl y 



only white light, and then 
only to treat winter depres- 
sion. This astounds Frenkel, 
who believes the mind 
ein codes experiences in 
specific colors. 

Unlike the dnjgs -frequent- 
ly prescribed for high 
blood pressure and anxiety 
colored light has no side 
efiects, Frenkel claims. 
And because light travels 
at 186,282 miles per 
second, its effects are felt 
immediately 

Fenkel n tally de/eloped 
f^e cl sse Gc ol stress 



in cardiac and stroke 
patients. "I've never had a 
heart attack, but if 1 have 
one and am lucky enough to 
survive, I'll probably start 
worrying about the next 
one," he says. "This device 
can tip people off if their 
stress goes too high." The 
glasses, however, would not 
be restricted to people with 
heart and high-blood- 
pressure problems, "Any- 
one concerned about stress 
could wear them. HI be 
wearing a pair myself." 

— Steve Madis 



INFRASTRUCTURE 
IS GOING TO 
THE BEARS 

Flohda loses about 40 of its 
rare black bears to highway 
accidents each year. That 
has proved reason enough 
for its Department of 
Transportation to test an 
eight-foot precast concrete 
culvert — essentially, a bear 
tunnel — on state road 46, 
north of Orlando. 

Fences along both sides 
of the road will funnel the 
bears into the tunnel, which is 
similar in concept to those 
placed elsewhere in the state 
to protect the endangered 
Florida panther. If the bears 
use the crossing, wildlife 
biologist Terry Gilbert of the 
Florida Game and Fresh 
Water Fish Commission says, 
the government may build 
similar culverts elsewhere in 
bear habitats, including the 
Ocala National Forest and 
the Big Cypress Wildlife 
Preserve. TV monitors in the 
first tunnel will help wildlife 
experts determine whether 
the bears actually take 




advantage of the tunnel. 

John B. Waoding, another 
wildlife biologist with the 
Commission, estimates that 
Florida has between 1 ,000 
and 1,500 black bears. The 
animals get hit by cars and'- 
trucks most frequently during 
what researchers call "the fall 
shuffle," the time when 
hungry bears are constantly 
on the move, trying to 
negotiate the perilous net- 
work of roads that crisscross 
their dwindling habitat. 

The Florida government 
has yet to decide when to 
begin the bear-tunnel proj- 



ect, which could cost 
$500,000. The cost stems 
mainly from the major 
highway excavation and 
regrading needed to make 
the passageway fit flush with 
the highway surface. 

^George Nobbe 

"Always laugh when you 
can; it is cheap medicine. " 
— Lord Byron 

"Madness is rare in individ- 
uals — but in groups, 
parties, and nations, it is 
the rule. " 

— Fried rich Nietzsctie 



IF ALL.QF THE STATES 

WERE THE SIZE 

OF AWSKA, THE ENTIRE 

AREA OF THE 

UNITED STATES COULD 

HOLD ONLY 

SIX COMPLETE STATES. 

A MANNED SPACECRAFT 
CAN REACH THE 
MOON IN LESS TIME 
THAN IT TOOK 
A STAGECOACH TO 
TRAVEL THE 
LENGTH OF GREAT 
BRITAIN. 





conjTimuunn 



TO DEFECT IS 
TO PERFECT 

Finally, some positive press 
for genelic mutation: A 
recently identified genetic 
defect in some South Pacific 
islanders makes them im- 
mune to malaria. 

Jiri Paiek, Shih-Chun Lui, 
and their coileagues at St. 
Elizabeth's Hospital in Bos- 
ton discovered that a number 
of peopie from the South 
Pacific carry a mutant gene 
that instructs red blood ceils 
to produce an abnormal 
band-3 protein. This mutant 



"and yet they survive 
normally in circulation." 

Up to 40 percent of the 
native populations in Papua 
New Guinea enjoy the mutant 
protein's enhanced protec- 
tion from malaria. Native 
peoples in Ivlalaysia, the 
Philippines, and Indonesia 
also show a strong resist- 
ance to the disease. 

Paiek believes natural 
selection is at work, "This is 
an area where malaria is 
endemic," he says, "People 
with this defect had a bettei 
chance of surviving, and the, 
passed it on to succeediny 



IF THE WORLD'S TOTAL lAHD AREA WERE DIVIDED 

EQUALLY AMONG THE WORLD'S 

PEOPLE, EACH PERSON WOULD HOLD 8.5 ACRES. 

AT THE EQUATOR, THE EARTH SPINS 

AT A RATE OF MORE THAN 1 ,000 MILES PER HOUR. 



protein bonds with the cell 
membrane, making the walls 
of the blood cells so stiff that 
the malaria parasite cannot 
penetrate and infect them. 
"These are the stiffest \ 
cells known to sciencp " \ 
Paiek marvels 



generations." A more exten- 
sive search of the tropics, he 
suggests, would probably 
reveal other populations with 
ovalocytosis, or rigid red 
blood cells. 

The researchers hope that 
undertitanding how the 
mutant protPin reacts 
against maiaria will lead to 
tredtment strategies. 
— Sandy Fritz 

This Papua New 

may make him 
malaria 





Eagles have great 



EAGLES JOUST 
WITH WINDMILLS 

Searching for a clean Sdfu 
energy soli roe. some 
companies have taken a 
step forward to the past, 
relying on wind povjer for 
energy. Some 7,000 "w)nd 
turbines" sit in the foothills 
east of San Francisco, 
making it tlie largest 
wind-propelled energy cen- 
ter in the wor(d. 

Unfortunaieiy, such mod- 
ern windmiils have not 
proven as environ men tally 

safe as expected albeit in 

an unexpected way A 
tV'.'O-year study by the 
California Stats Energy 
Commission found thai a 
large number of predatory 
birds, including golden and 
bald eagles, turn up dead 
in [fe icinity of these 
tjfbiro . The study estimat- 
dd th i 500 I'aprors were 
hill^ I in a two-year period 
rtidtha'55percent of them 
h^ i c Hided with wind 
turbinp.. The birds might 



void v/indnillls 



o Hc J e the blades of 
he 00-foot turbines 

a ^1 o e of a threat 
it a t e OS, with lethal 
results to ariy quixotic 
raptor who iilts at such 
a windmiii. 

U.S. Windpower, the 
largest of the turbine 
operaiors, has embarked 
on an ambitious series ol 
experiments to deiermine 
liow to create a "compati- 
ble coexistence" between 
tuibine and raptor, accord- 
ing to William J, Whalen, a 
vice president of the 
company Trained hawks 
and homing pigeons will be 
used to iesi whether 
high-pitched noises and 
colors painted on the 
turbine sails keep birds at a 
saie distance. "We hops to 
have data by the end of the 
summer" Whalen says. But 
for the present, as David 
Mesmith of the San 
Francisco Bay chapter of 
the Sierra Club admits, 
"liiere are no good safety 
measures." — Mark Suniin 



ir, 








<<The theory of ozone 
destruction by CFCs, though 
incomplete, is robust. 77 



— freiaik Pohl 




THEYCALLTHIS 



«The idea of the 

ozone layer as finite is all wrong 

to begin with.?? 

—James P. Hosao 



PHOTOGRAPHS B 



Y GREG VAUGHN 



stop using them now, deaths from skin 
cancer in Ihe United States alone will 
rise by hundreds of thousands in the 
next half century. As a result, 80 nations 
are about to railroad through legislation 
to ban one of most beneficial substanc- 
es ever discovered at a cost the public 
doesn't seem to comprehend but that 
will be staggering. It could mean hav- 
ing to replace today's refrigeration and 
air-conditioning equipment with more 
expensive types running on substitutes 
that are toxic, corrosive, flammable if 
sparked, less efficient, and generally 



reminiscent of the things people 
heaved sighs of relief to get rid of in ihe 
1930s. And the domestic side will be 
only a small part. The food industry 
thai we take for granted depends on re- 
frigerated warehouses, trucks, and 
ships. So do supplies of drugs, med- 
icines, and blood. Whole regions of the 
sunbelt states have prospered during 
the last 40 years because of the better 
living and working environments made 
possible by air conditioning. And to de- 
veloping nations that rely completely on 
modern food-preservation methods, the 



effects will be devastating. 

Now, I'd have to agree that the alter- 
native of seeing the planet seared by 
lethal levels of radiation would make a 
pretty good justification for whatever 
drastic action is necessary to prevent 
it. The only problem is, there isn't one 
piece of solid, scientifically validated ev- 
idence to support the contention. The 
decisions being made are political, driv- 
en by media-friendly pressure groups 
wielding a power over public percep- 
tions that is totally out of proportion to 
any scientific competence they pos- 



OZONE REALITIES 



Y^es, Jim, that really is science, 
because that's what science Is. 
As the late Richard Feynman 
told us, "Scientific knowledge is a 
body of statements of varying de- 
grees of certainty — some most un- 
sure, some nearly sure, but none ab- 
solutely cenam." Anytime any scien- 
tist offers one of those statements— 
or "theories" — it is the duty of other 
scientists to try to pick holes in it. 

But the theory of ozone destruction 
by CFCs, though woefully incomplete 
(mostly because few bothered to do 
any research on the subject until 
quite recently), is robust. Its predic- 
tions are happening. Something is de- 
stroying Antarctic ozone to unprece- 
dented degrees, and it gets worse eve- 
ry year. The latest Antarctic ozone 
hole, measured in September 1992, 
was the largest ever — up 15 percent 
from the year before to nearly 9 million 
square miles. 

Are CFCs doing it? We know that 
the reaction occurs, because it's 
demonstrated in the laboratory, but 
Jim Hogan argues that the CFCs are 
too heavy to rise up to the strato- 
sphere. That's disingenuous. The at- 
mosphere doesn't arrange itself in den- 
sity layers like a pousse-cafe. if it did, 
there wouldn't be a problem; we 
could install some giant vacuum clean- 
ers in such low spots as Death Val- 
ley or the Qattara Depression and 
suck all the CFCs right out of the air. 

That doesn't happen, because the 
atmosphere is continually stirred — 
by thunderstorms, by winds, by solar 
radiation, by its own thermal move- 
ment — and so CFCs will sooner or lat- 
er diffuse to everywhere. Because 
they're heavy, they take a while to get 
to the stratosphere; that's why most 
of the CFCs already manufactured 
are still in the troposphere, where we 



live but the ozone layer does not. But 
the CFCs certainly do get to the 
ozone layer eventually, because 
they have nowhere else to go. The 
quality of chemical inertness which 
makes them useful assures that. 
They are not attacked by ordinary 
chemical reactions; they last indefi- 
nitely or until they come across some- 
thing rea//y reactive — something like 
the ozone layer. 

Ask a different question: Is there 
any evidence that extra UV-B is reach- 
ing the surface of the earth and af- 
fecting living creatures? It looks that 
way For one thing, biologists have not- 
ed that in the Weddell Sea off Antarc- 
tica the plankton and krill seem to be 
slowly changing color. Why? Best the- 
ory is that selection is favoring the 
ones with added protective pigment 
in response to increased UV-B, 

How about human beings, 
though; are they suffering additional 
cataracts and skin cancers as a re- 
sult? That's harder to measure; a cat- 
aract doesn't come with a label to iden- 
tify its cause, and the normal inci- 
dence of such problems is much 
larger than ihe expected increases 
from UV-B — so far — so that even a sta- 
tistical proof is hard to obtain. That's 
true even In Australia, presumably ihe 
most severely affected inhabited 
pari of ihe world — plus ihe fact that 
Australians for years now have been 
urged to practice Slip-Slap-Slop 
["Slip on a shirt, Slap on a hat. Slop 
on some sun blocker"). But they don't 
do thai for their pet cats, and at the 
veterinary clinic of ihe Royal Society 
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ani- 
mals in Sydney about 500 cases of 
feline skin cancer are turning up a 
year now — a few years ago there 
were almost none. 

The CFC reaction is not the only 



process that attacks the atmos- 
phere's ozone layer. Emissions from 
volcanic eruptions, as Hogan points 
out, may well be another— it is likely, 
for instance, that the cataclysmic erup- 
tion of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines 
contributed to the ozone losses that 
were recently, and unexpectedly, 
found over much of the north tem- 
perate zone of our planet. But it 
takes a Pi natu bo-si zed eruption to pro- 
ject serious amounts of ozone-destroy- 
ing chemicals into the stratosphere. 
Mount Erebus's eruptions are compar- 
atively feeble and unlikely to account 
for ihe observed .major stratosphehc 
ozone losses in the Antarctic. 

The CFC reaction, however, has 
one quite unique quality Thai is, it is 
the only known ozone-destroying proc- 
ess that we human beings have any 
control over. If we are to do anything 
at all, stopping manufacture of CFCs 
and similar synthetic chemicals is ihe 
only thing we can do. 

It is true that if we give up the use 
of CFCs we'll have to scrap and re- 
place almost all our current refriger- 
ators and air conditioners. Thai's an- 
other nonlssue, however, since over 
the next couple of decades, we will 
certainly scrap and replace them all 
anyway. The only question is wheth- 
er we replace them with more of the 
same or with systems that don't use 
CFCs. Such systems already exist. 

If the consensus of most scientists 
is wrong, and there is, after all, no dan- 
ger to the ozone layer, then doing 
what that consensus suggests will un- 
necessarily cost us all some money 
and inconvenience, Bui if the scien- 
tists are right and we do nothing, it 
will cost us a great deal more mon- 
ey, a great deal more inconvenience, 
and a very great deal of suffering and 
human lives.— Frederik Pohl 



sess. But when you ask the people who 
do have the competence to know — 
scientists who have specialized in the 
study of atmosphere and ciimate for 
years — a yery different story emerges. 

What they're saying, essentially, is 
that the whoie notion of the ozone ia>^ 
er as something fixed and finite, to be 
eroded away at a faster or slower rate 
like shoe leather, is all wrong to begin 
with — it's simply not a depietable re- 
source; that even if it were, the proc- 
ess by which CFCs are supposed to de- 
plete it is highly speculative and has nev- 
er been observed to take place; and 
even If it did, the effect would be trivial 
compared to what happens naturally, in 
short, there's no good reason for believ- . 
ing that human activity is having any sig- 
nificant effect at all. 

To see why, let's start with the basics 
and take seashores as an analogy. 
Waves breaking along the coastline con- 
tinually generate a belt of surf. The 
surf decomposes again, back into the 
ocean from where it came. The two proc- 
esses are linked: Big waves on stormy 
days create more surf; the more surf 
there is to decay, the higher the rate at 
which it does so. The result is a balance 
between the rales of creation and de- 
struction, Calmer days will see a gen- 
eral thinning of the surf line and possi- 



bly "holes" in more sheltered spots — 
but obviously the surf isn't something 
that runsout. Its supply is inexhaustible 
as long as oceans and shores exist. 

In the same kind of way, ozone is all 
the time being created in the upper at- 
mosphere^by sunshine, out of oxygen. 
A normal molecule of oxygen gas con- 
sists of two oxygen atoms joined togeth- 
er. High-energy ultraviolet radiation', 
known as UV-C, can split one of these 
molecules apart {a process known as 
photodissociation) into two free oxygen 
atoms. These can then attach to anoth- 
er molecule to form a three-atom spe- 
cies, which is ozone — produced main- 
ly in the tropics above a 30-kilometer 
altitude where the ultraviolet flux is 
strongest. The ozone sinks and moves 
poleward to accumulate in lower-level 
reservoirs extending from 17 to 30 kilom- 
eters — the so-called ozone "layer." 

Ozone is destroyed by chemical re- 
combination back into normal oxygen — 
by reaction with nitrogen dioxide (pro- 
duced in part by high-altitude cosmic 
rays), through ultraviolet dissociation by 
the same U'v'-C that creates ozone, and 
also by a less energetic band known as 
UV-B, which isn't absorbed in the high- 
er regions. Every dissociation of an oxy- 
gen or ozone molecule absorbs an in- 
coming UV-B photon, and that may be 




jtfyein.0gisiiig THi @^0ust 



what gives this part of the atmosphere 
its ultraviolet screening ability. 

Its height and thickness are not con- 
stant, but "adjust automatically to accom- 
modate variations in the incoming ultra- 
violet flux. When UV is stronger, it pen- 
etrates deeper before being absorbed; 
with weaker UV, penetration is less. 
Even if all the ozone were to suddenly 
vanish, there would still be 17 to 30 ki- 
lometers of hitherto untouched oxygen- 
rich atmosphere below, which would be- 
come available as a resource for new 
ozone creation, and the entire screen- 
ing mechanism would promptly regen- 
erate. As Robert Pease, professor emer- 
itus of physical climatology at the Uni- 
versity of California at Riverside, says, 
"Ozone in the atmosphere is not in fi- 
nite supply" In other words, as in the 
case of surf with oceans and shores, it 
is inexhaustible for as long as sunshine 
and air continue to exist. 

If ozone were depleting, UV intensi- 
ty at the earth's surface would be in- 
creasing. In fact, actual measurements 
show that It has been decreasing — by 
as much as 8 percent in some places 
over the last decade. 

Ordinarily, a scientific hypothesis 
that failed in its most elementary pre- 
diction would be dumped right there. 
But as Dr. Dixy Lee Ray — former gov- 
ernor of Washington state, chairman of 
the Atomic Energy Commission, and a 
scientist with the-U.S. Bureau of Oceans 
and the University of Washington — put 
it: "There are fads in science. Scientists 
are capable of developing their own 
strange fixations, just like anyone 
else." Even though the physics makes 
it difficult to see how, the notion of some- 
thing manmade destroying the ozone lay- 
er has always fascinated an apocalyp- 
tic few who have been seeking possi- 
ble candidates for more than 40 years. 
According to Hugh Ellsaesser, guest sci- 
entist at the Atmospheric and Geophys- 
ical Sciences Division of the Lawrence 
Livermore National Laboratory "There 
has been a small but concerted pro- 
gram to build the possibility of man de- 
stroying the ozone layer into a dire 
threat requiring governmental controls 
since the time of CIAP [Climatic Impact 
Assessment Program on the supersonic 
transport (SST), conducted in the early 
1970s]." 

in the 1950s, it was A-bomb testing; 
in the 1960s, the SST; in the 1970s, 
spacecraft launches and various chem- 
icals from pesticides to fertilizers All of 
these claimed threats to the destruction 
of the ozone layer were later discredit- 
ed, and for a while, the controversy 
died out. Then, in 1985 and 1986, ban- 
ner headlines blared thai a huge ozone 
hole had been discovered in the Ant- 



arctic. This, it was proclaimed, con- 
firmed the latest version of the threat. 

In 1974, two chemists, Rowland and 
Molina at the University of Caiifornia at 
irvine, hypothesized that ozone might 
be attacked by CFCs — which had 
come into widespread use during the 
previous 20 years. Basically, they sug- 
gested that the same chemical inert- 
ness that makes CFCs noncorrosive, 
nontoxic, and ideal as a refrigerant 
would enable them to diffuse intact to 
the upper atmosphere. There, they 
would be dissociated by high-energy ul- 
traviolet and release free atoms of chlo- 
hne. Chlorine will combine with one of 
the three oxygen atoms of an ozone mol- 
ecule to produce chlorine monoxide 
and a normal two-molecule oxygen at- 
om, thereby destroying the ozone mol- 
ecule. The model becomes more insid- 
ious by postulating an additional chain 
of catalytic reactions via which the chlo- 
rine monoxide can be recycled back in- 
to free chlorine, hence evoking the spec- 
ter of a single chlonne atom running 
amok in the stratosphere, gobbling up 
ozone molecules like Pac-Man. 

Scary, vivid, sensational; perfect for 
activists seeking a cause, politicians in 
need of visibility; just what the media rev- 
el in. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't 
fit with a few vital facts. And if you 
claim to be talking about science, 
that's kind of important. 

First, CFCs don't rise in significant 
amounts to where they need to be for 
UV-C photons to break them up. Be- 
cause ozone absorbs heat directly 
from the sun's rays, the stratosphere ex- 
hibits a reverse temperature structure, 
or thermal "inversion"— it gets warmer 
with altitude rather than cooler. As 
Robert Ffease points out, "This barner 
greatly inhibits vertical air movements 
and the interchange of gases across 
the tropopause [the boundary between 
the lower atmosphere and the strato- 
sphere], including CFCs. In the strato- 
sphere, CFC gases decline rapidly and 
drop to only two percent of surface val- 
ues by thirty kilometers of altitude. At 
the same time, less than two percent of 
the UV-C penetrates this deeply." 
Hence the number of CFC splittings is 
vastly lower than the ohginal hypothe- 
sis assumes — for the same reason 
there aren't many marriages between 
Eskimos and Australian Aborigines: 
They don't mix very much. 

For the UV photons that do make it, 
there are about 136 million oxygen mol- 
ecules for them to collide with for eve- 
ry CFC — and every such reaction will cre- 
ate ozone, not destroy it. So even if we 
allow the big CFC molecule three 
times the chance of a small oxygen mol- 
ecule of being hit, then 45 million ozone 

40 OMNI 



molecules will still be created for every 
CFC molecule that's broken up. Hardly 
a convincing disaster scenario, is It? 

Ah, but what about the catalytic ef- 
fect, whereby one chlorine atom can 
eat up thousands of ozone molecules? 
Doesn't that change the picture? 

Not really The catalysis argument de- 
pends on encounters between chlorine 
monoxide and free oxygen atoms. But 
the chances are much higher that a wan- 
dering free oxygen atom will find a mol- 
ecule of normal oxygen rather than one 
of chlorine monoxide. So once again, 
probability favors ozone creation over 
ozone destruction. 

At least 192 chemical reactions oc- 
cur between substances in the upper 
stratosphere along with 48 different Iden- 
tifiable photochemical processes all 
linked through complex feedback mech- 
anisms that are only partly understood. 
Selecting a few reactions brought 



tThere 

are fads in science. 

Scientists 

are capable of 

developing 

their own strange 

fixations, 

just lil^e anyone else. 9 



about in a laboratory and claiming that 
this is what happens in the stratosphere 
(where it has never been measured) 
might be a way of getting to a prede- 
termined conclusion. But it isn't science. 

But surely it's been demonstrated! 
Hasn't a thousand times more chlorine 
been measured over the Antarctic 
than models say ought to be there? 

Yes. High concentrations of chlo- 
rine — or to be exact, chlorine monoxide. 
But all chlorine atoms look alike. There 
is absolutely nothing to link the ctilorine 
found over the Antarctic with CFCs 
from the other end of the world. What 
the purveyors of that story omitted to 
mention was that the measuring station 
at McMurdo Sound is located 15 kilom- 
eters downwind from Mount Erebus, an 
active volcano venting 100 to 200 tons 
of chlorine every day, and that in 1983 
it averaged 1,000 tons per day 
Mightn't thai just have more to do with 
it than refrigerators in New York or air 
conditioners in Atlanta? 

World CFC production is currently 
about 1,1 million tons annually — 



750,000 tons of which is chlorine. Twen- 
ty times as much comes from the pas- 
sive outgassing of volcanoes. This can 
rise by a factor of ten with a single 
large eruption^for example that of Tarn- 
bora in 1815, which pumped a mini- 
mum of 21 1 million tons streight into the 
atmosphere. Where are the records of 
all the cataclysmic effects that should 
presumably have followed from the con- 
sequent ozone depletion? 

And on an even greater scale, 300 
million tons of chlorine are contained in 
spray blown off the oceans every year. 
A single thunderstorm in the Amazon re- 
gion can transport 200 million tons of 
air per hour into the atmosphere, con- 
taining 3 million tons of water vapor. On 
average, 44,000 thunderstorms occur 
daily mostly in the tropics. Even if we 
concede to the depletion theory and al- 
low this mechanism to transport CFCs 
also, compared to what gels there nat- 
urally, the whiif of chlorine produced by 
all of human industry (and we're only talk- 
ing about the leakage from It) is a snow- 
flake in a blizzard. 

Despite all that, isn't it still true that 
a hate has appeared in the last ten 
years and is getting bigger? What 
about that then? 

In 1985, a sharp, unpredicted de- 
cline was reported in the mean depth 
of ozone over Halley Bay Antarctica. Al- 
though the phenomenon was limited to 
altitudes between 1 2 and 22 kilometers 
and the interior of a seasonal circula- 
tion of the polar jet stream known as the 
"polar vortex," it was all that the ozone- 
doomsday pushers needed, Without 
waiting for any scientific evaluation or 
consensus, they decided that this was 
the confirmation that the Rowland-Mo- 
lina conjecture had been waiting for. 
The ominous term "ozone hole" was 
coined by a media machine well re- 
hearsed in environmentalist politics, and 
anything the scientific community had 
to say has been drowned out. 

Missing from the press and TV ac- 
counts, for instance, is that an unexpect- 
edly low value in the Antarctic winter- 
spring ozone level was reported by the 
British scientist Gordon Dobson in 
1956 — when CFCs were barely in use. 
In a 40-year history of ozone research 
written in 1968, he notes: "One of the 
most interesting results , . . which 
came out of the IGY [International Ge- 
ophysical Yearj was the discovery of 
the peculiar annual variation of ozone 
at Halley Bay" His first thought was 
that the result might have been due to 
faulty equipment or operator error. But 
when such possibilities were eliminated 
and the same thing happened the fol- 
lowing year, he concluded: "it was 
clear thai the winter vortex over the 



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12328-eVRfi-20 



South Pols was maintained late into the 
spring and that tliis kept the ozone val- 
ues low. When it suddenly broke up in 
November, both the ozone values and 
the stratosphere temperatures sudden- 
ly rose." A year after that, in 1958, a sim- 
ilar drop was reported by French sci- 
entists at the Antarctic obsen/atory at 
Dumont d'Urville — larger than that caus- 
ing all the hysteria today. 

These measurements were on the 
edge of observational capability, espe- 
cially in an environment such as the Ant- 
arctic, and most scientists regarded 
them with caution. After the 1985 "dis- 
covery," NASA reanalyzed its satellite 
data and found that it had been routine- 
ly throwing out low Antarctic ozone read- 
ings as "unreliable." 

The real cause is slowly being unrav- 
eled, and while some correlation is evi- 
dent with volcanic eruptions and sun- 
spot cycles, the dominant factor ap- 
pears to be the extreme Antarctic winter 
conditions, as Dobson originally suspect- 
ed. The poleward transportation of 
ozone from its primary creation zones 
ever the tropics does not penetrate in- 
to the polar vortex, where chemical de- 
pletion can't be replaced because of 
the lack of sunshine. Note that this is a 
localized minimum relative to the sur- 
rounding high-latitude reservoir regions, 
where global ozone is thickest. As 
Hugh Ellsaesser observes, "The ozone 
hole . . . leadsonly to spring values of 
ultraviolet flux over Antarctica ... a fac- 
tor of two less than those experienced 
every summer in North Dakota." 

But isn't it getting bigger every 
year? And aren't ttie latest readings 
sliowing depletion elsewhere, too? 

in April, 1991 , EPA Administrator Wil- 
liam Reilly announced that the ozone lay- 
er over. North America was thinning 
twice as fast as expected and pro- 
duced the figures for soaring deaths 
from skin cancer. This was based on 
readings from NASA's Nimbus-7 satel- 
lite. I talked to Dr. S. Fred Singer of the 
Washington-based Science and Environ- 
mental Policy Project, who developed 
the principle of UV backscatter thai the 
ozone monitoring instrument aboard Nim- 
bus-7 employs. "You simply cannot 
tell from one sunspot cycle," was his 
comment. "The data are too noisy. Sci- 
entists need at least one more cycle of 
satellite observations before Ihey can 
establish a trend." In other words, the 
trend exists in the eye of the determined 
beholder, not in any facts he beholds. 

February 1 992 saw a repeat perform- 
ance when a NASA research aircraft de- 
tected high values of chlorine monox- 
ide in the northern stratosphere. Not of 
CFCs; nor was there any evidence that 
ozone itself was actually being deplet- 

42 OMNI 



ed, nor any mention that the Pinatubo 
volcano was active at the time. Yet al- 
most as if on cue, the U.S. Senate 
passed an amendment only two days 
later calling for an accelerated phase- 
out of CFCs. (it's interesting to note 
that NASA's budget was under review 
at the time. After getting its increase, 
NASA has since conceded that per- 
haps the fears were premature.) 

But apart from all that, yes, world 
mean-total ozone declined about 5 per- 
cent from 1979 to 1986. So what? 
From 1962 to 1979 it increased by S'/a 
percent. And since 1986, it has been 
increasing again (although that part's 
left out of the story the public gets). On 
shorter time scales, it changes natural- 
ly all the time and from place to place, 
hence surface ultraviolet intensity is not 
constant and never was. It varies with 
latitude — for instance, how far north or 
south from the equator you are — with 



iResearch 

proposals to explore the 

other side 

of things are turned down, 

while 

doomsayers line up for 

grants 

running into the millions.? 



the seasons, and with solar activity. And 
it does so in amounts that are far great- 
er than those causing all the fuss. 

The whole doomsday case boils 
down to claiming that if something isn't 
done to curb CFCs, ultraviolet radiation 
will increase by 10 percent over the 
next 20 years. But from the poles to the 
equator. It increases naturally by a whop- 
ping factor of 50, or 5,000 percent, an^^ 
way! — equivalent to 1 percent for every 
six miles. Or to put it another way, a fam- 
ily moving from New York to Philadel- 
phia would experience the same in- 
crease as is predicted by the worst- 
case depletion scenarios. Alternatively, 
they could live 1 ,500 feet higher in ele- ■ 
vation— say, by moving to their summer 
cabin in the Catskills. 

Superposed on this is a minimum 25- 
percent swing from summer to winter, 
and on top of that, a 1 0- to 1 2-year pat- 
tern that follows the sunspot cycle. Fi- 
nally, there are irregular fluctuations 
caused by the effects of volcanic erup- 
tions, electrical storms, and the like on 
atmospheric chemistry. Expecting to 



find some "natural" level that shouldn't 
be deviated from in all this is like trying 
to define sea level in a typhoon. 

Skin cancer Is increasing, neverthe- 
less. Something must be causing it. 

An increasing rate of UV-induced 
skin cancer means that-more people 
are receiving more exposure than they 
ought to. It doesn't follow that the inten- 
sity of ultraviolet is increasing as it 
would If ozone were being depleted. (In 
fact, it's decreasing, as we saw earli- 
er.) Other considerations explain the 
facts far better, such as that sun wor- 
ship has become a fad among light- 
skinned people only In the last couple 
of generations, or the migrations in com- 
paratively recent times of peoples into 
habitats for which they aren't adapted; 
for instance, the white population of Aus- 
tralia. {Native Australians have experi- 
enced no skin-cancer increase.) 

Deaths from drowning increase as 
you get nearer the equator — not be- 
cause the water becomes more lethal 
but because human behavior changes: 
Not many people go swimming in the 
Arctic. Nevertheless, when it comes to 
skin cancer, the National Academy of 
Sciences [NAS] has decided that only 
variation of UV matters. And from the 
measured ozone thinning from poles to 
equator and the change in zenith an- 
gle of the sun they determined that a 
1-percent decrease in ozone equates 
to a 2-percent rise in skin cancer. 

How you make a disaster scenario 
out of this, according to Ellsaesser, is 
to ignore the decline in surface UV ac- 
tually measured over the last 15 years, 
ignore the reversal that shows ozone to 
have been increasing again since 1986, 
and extend the 1979-1986 slope as if 
it were going to continue for the next 
40 years. Then, take the above formu- 
la as established fact and apply it to the 
entire U.S. population. Witness: Accord- 
ing to the MAS report (1975), approxi- 
mately 600,000 new cases of skin can- 
cer occur annually So, by the above, 
a 1-percent ozone decrease gives 
12,000 more skin cancers. Projecting 
the 5-percent ozone swing from the ear- 
ly 1 980s through the next four decades 
gives 25 percent, hence a 50-perceni 
rise in skin cancer, which works out at 
300,000 new cases in the year 2030 
A.D., or 7.5 million ever the full period. 
Since the mortality rate is around 2.5 per- 
cent, this gives the EPA's "200,000 ex- 
tra deaths in the United Slates alone." 
Voila: instant catastrophe. 

As if this weren't flaky enough, it's pos- 
sible that the lethal variety of skin can- 
cer has little to do with UV exposure, 
anyway. The cancers that are caused 
by radiation are recognizable by their 
correlation with latitude and length of ex- 

CONTINUED0NPAGE91 



HERESY! 



r Modern 
/Galileos 



ANTHONY LIVERSIDGE 



Last autumn, at last, the 
Catholic Church confessed. 
The New York Times' 
frontpage headline read: 
"After 350 Years, Vatican 
Says Galileo Was Right: it 
Moves." Following a 13-year 
investigation by an expert 
panei of scientists, theolo- 
gians, and historians, Pope 
John Paui il was prepared 
to correct the record. 

in 1632, Gaiileo wrote 
that he had evidence that 
the earth moves around the 
sun rather than vice versa. 
He shouid not, today's Pope 
now acknowledges, have 
been hauled before a 
tribunal, threatened with 
torture, forced to recant, 
banned from pubiicaiion, 
and banished for the rest of 
his life to his country estate. 
As the Church panel now 
confirms, Galiieo was right 
on the money ail the time. 

Stale news for most of us. 
Moreover, the story of a 
great scientist battling 
established religion seems 
irrelevant to the modern 
world — or is it? 

Some leading scientists 
claim that the repression of 
Galileo's ideas only fore- 
shadowed the politics they 
have to contend with today 
They insist that another 
church has established 
itself, a more insidious 
enemy to truth seeking than 
the Catholic Church of old. 
This time the church 
shutting out new ideas as 
heresy and blocking the 
march of truth is the 
scientific establishment. 

The modern iconoclasts 
aren't New Age freaks, 
homeopaths, or astrologers — 
outsiders typically hostile to 
scientists who scorn them. 
They rank among the most 
distinguished and pro- 
ductive men and women in 
American science and 
include Nobel laureates. 
They are, you might say, the 
"modern Galileos," 

If they're right, the Popes 
and Cardinals of modern 

44 OMNI 




science are turning a deaf 
ear to potential break- 
throughs in cancer, heart 
disease, AIDS, and the 
global energy crisis. Even if 
they're wrong, their claims 
that a heretic in science, 
however well qualified, can't 
gain a fair hearing if he or 
she threatens the status 
quo often seem justified. 

Take Linus Pauling, the 
best known of these 
iconoclasts. He's a house- 
hold name as a world- 
famous scientist and talk- 
show author of a popular 
book on diet. How to Live 
Longer and Feel Better. 
Pauling remains the only 
person in the universe to 
have won two unshared 
fJobel prizes: for Chemistry 
in 1954 and the Nobel 
Peace prize in 1962 for 
his crusade against nuclear 
weapons. James D. 
Watson, the decoder of 
DNA, joins many other 
top scientists in calling 
Pauling "the greatest of 
all chemists." 

Pauling is hale and hearty 
at 92. His cheeks are rosy 
and his twinkling blue eyes 
clear and sharp. He seems 
the very picture of health 
despite a brief bout with 
prostate cancer last year, 
now under control, he 
claims. The only sign of age 
is a quaver in his voice. 
Pauling can brief journalists 
from memory on his latest 
work, quoting a slew of 
facts and dates without 
missing a beat. 

What Pauling is asked 
about most often is his 
favorite theory: that vitamin 
C in large doses not only 
wards off colds, but also 
the major afflictions of 
Western man — heart dis- 
ease and cancer. 

The spry Pauling seems a 
living testimonial to his own 
advice He stirs a whopping 
18 grams of vitamin C into 
his orange juice every day, 
he says. But how about the 
prostate cancer? Pauling 



believes he delayed its 
progress by 25 years. Yet 
even as research piles up to 
suggest Pauling is correct, 
the medical establishment 
has scoffed and blocked 
publication of his theories in 
a top journal. 

The Proceedings of the 
National Academy is the 
publication of the most 
exclusive club in science. 
Pauling, a member since 
the Thirties, was first 
prevented from publishing 
an article in it on vitamin C 
and colds 20 years ago. 
The editor was adamant, 
although Pauling objected 
that he was curbing a right 
ail members had to publish 
in the Proceedings without 
prior review by colleagues. 

A new rule was speedily 
cooked up, clearly to 
justify blocking Pauling. All 
articles that might be "of 
significant potential harm 
to the public welfare" would 
now be reviewed before 
publication. Under this rule, 
Pauling's theory of how 
taking vitamin C helps 
prevent heart trouble was 
also rejected in 1991, There 
was grave danger, the 
editors felt, that the public 
might be influenced by 
the authority of the Proceed- 
ings to challenge their 
doctors' advice. 

Censored by the Proceed- 
ings, Pauling published in a 
friendly journal, quoting 
Galileo: "Venly just as 
serpents close their ears, so 
do men close their eyes to 
the truth." 

A recent review from 
Finland of all studies done 
so far backs Pauling on 
vitamin C and colds, and 
evidence now seems over- 
whelming that vitamins C 
and E do have value in 
preventing cancer. A big 
study by Dr. James Enstrom 
from UCLA reported recent- 
ly that large daily doses of 
vitamin G cut heart disease 
deaths by nearly half in men 
and one-fourth in women, 



adding more than five years 
to life expeciancy. It seems 
ihat vitamin C works this 
magic by stabilizing cholest- 
erol at optimum levels and 
also by preventing it from 
liardening in the arteries. 

None of this has made 
life much easier for Pauling. 
He won the Vannevar Bush 
phze in 1989 from the 
National Science Founda- 
tiorn, but that same year, tiie 
same institution turned 
down his grant request for 
an assistant and a com- 
puter. Pauling's aim was to 
pursue his new ideas in the 
nature of chemical bonds in 
metals and alloys, the field 
that won him the Nobel. 

One reviewer suggested 
the money "would be better 
spent on creative young 
investigators, less fixed in 
their ways." Another ac- 
cused him ol "fiddling with 
the numbers ... to come 
out with the right answer" in 
his grant application. Paul- 
ing answered that the 
reviewer was ignorant of 
one of his (Pauling's) own 
discoveries 55 years earlier. 
The four other reviewers 
were complimentary and 
recommended funding, but 
that wasn't enough. 

"If a scientist tries 
something original, he will 
have trouble getting grants 
and getting papers pub- 
lished," says Pauling phi- 
losophically. "Most say I 
have been right so often in 
the past, I am probably right 
about vitamin C, too. I don't 
have any trouble with them. 
It's the physicians who don't 
have open minds. There is a 
real bias on the part of the 
medical establishment 
about megavitamins." 

Their prejudices exist, he 
believes, because doctors 
confuse vitamins with the 
drugs that have proved 
effective against disease in 
small doses and which are 
toxic in large doses. They 
fail to understand that while 
small doses of vitamin C 

46 OMNI 



Peter 
Duesberg 




are needed to prevent 
scurvy larger doses 
might be beneficial, too. 
"Authorities who have 
lectured on nutrition 
to students for fifty years 
saying higher doses 
of, vitamins have no value 
don't want to say'lhey 
are wrong." 

The National Academy ot 
Sciences, in response to 
complaints from Pauling 
and others, has, however, 
set up a committee to 
review the bool^s and 
articles it publishes that 
condemn megadoses of 
vitamins out of hand. 

Pauling's frustration is 
typical of science in 
general, judging from the 
long list of latter-day 
Galileos who have been first 
trashed and then vindicat- 
ed. The most famous is 
German meteorologist A. L. 
Wegener whose 1912 theo- 
ry of continental drift met 
with generalized hostility 
and rejection. Wegener 
eventually gave up the 
struggle, complaining of 
scientists' "partiality" to the 
reigning paradigm, and 
pursued other goals. Fifty 
years later, mechanisms of 
plate tectonics and seafloor 
spreading were.detected, 
and he's now admired as a 
revolutionary thinker. 

But some of the blindest 
fanaticism in favor of the 
received wisdom seems to 
come in medicine. Louis 
Pasteur won honors, wealth, 
and fame for proving that 
microbes cause disease 
and ferment beer, but only 
after weathehng public 
attaci^s from his fhends in 
the French Academy. 

The most blatant case of 
medical blinl<ers is that of 
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis. 
In 1847, the young Vien- 
nese doctor simply pro- 
posed that his colleagues 
wash their hands with 
disinfectant after dissection, 
before they delivered ba- 
bies. His program cut the 



death rate of mothers in his 
hospital ward from 16 
percent to less than 2 
percent. Semmelweis, only 
the equivalent of an intern, 
was hounded out of Vienna 
by his superiors. After 
applying the same regimen 
with stril<lng success in a 
provincial city for some 
years, he himself died from 
a dissection wound and the 
very puerperal fever he had 
shown how to curb. 

Knowledgeable observ- 
ers are wondering whether 
Peter Duesberg of the 
University of California at 
Berkeley is another Semmel- 
weis if not a Pasteur. An 
establishment heretic, 
Duesberg has run into a 
wall of rejection by scien- 
tists in his field, by the 
medical profession, and by 
the media. One reason is 
that his most sensational 
claims involve the highly 
politicized field of AIDS. 
Unlike Semmelweis, howev- 
er, Duesberg has long been 
very prominent in his field. 
He Is 'a virologist who 
specializes in retroviruses, 
the group of microbes to 
which the Human Immu- 
nodeficiency Virus (HIV) 
belongs HIV is the virus 
almost universally thought 
to cause AIDS. 

While he's never studied 
HIV in the lab, Duesberg's 
credentials to inspect the 
evidence for this dogma 
seem impeccable. The 
55-year-old professor has 
belonged to the exclusive 
National Academy since 
1986 for achievements 
which Include being the first 
to decode the genes of 
retroviruses. He also Iden- 
tifted the first of the 
oncogenes held to cause 
cancer. A letter in Nature 
said he deserved the Nobel 
Prize for his oncogene work. 
Others have won Nobels for 
cancer-gene research, but 
not Duesberg. One reason 
may be thai he's now 
notorious for his skepticism 



about human oncogenes. 
Although the field is 
fashionable and well fund- 
ed, Duesberg himself has 
renounced any belief that 
such oncogenes have ever 
caused cancer in humans. 

"There is no evidence or 
proof that a gene of a cell 
ever caused cancer," 
Duesberg says flatly "Not 
one. The only proven 
oncogenes are carried by 
rare animal retroviruses 
and, fortunately, are very 
unstable." Even the possi- 
bility is "frankly very 
Implausible, A true cellular 
cancer gene would be 
found In each of the 100 
trillion cells in the human 
body, and we wouldn't be 
viable organisms. One 
would be activated far too 
often for us to live as long 
as we do." 

Already distinctly unpopu- 
lar for this view, Duesberg 
became a pariah when he 
turned to AIDS. Attracted by 
the rise in funding going to 
AIDS research; Duesberg 
visited the library to 
examine the data behind 
the belief that AIDS is an 
Infectious disease caused 
by HIV. He reached a 
startling conclusion and 
published It in Cancer 
Research, a leading journal, 
in 1987. HIV was not the 
cause of AIDS, in his 
judgment', and the evidence 
indicated that AIDS was not 
infectious. The symptoms, 
he concluded, were caused 
by drugs, disease, and 
other conventional assaults 
on the immune system. 

His retrovirology col- 
leagues at first refused to 
argue, claiming that such 
doubt was absurd. A 
smattering of press cover- 
age forced a response, 
however, and Science 
featured a limited, four- 
page debate between 
Duesberg and his detrac- 
tors in 1988. Each side was 
allowed a statement and 
rebuttal, but further argu- 

48 OMNI 




ment was sharply cut off. 

Duesberg turned to the 
Proceedings of tlte National 
Academy to press his case. 
Among many reasons for 
skepticism, he argued 
thai the actual virus was 
virtually absent from the 
bodies of AIDS patients, 
even those who were dying 
of the disease. Moreover, 
lab work failed to show 
that HIV would kill the 
immune system's T cells, 
the loss of which is the 
hallmark of AIDS. He 
noted thai predictions of 
s in AIDS cases 
have consistently failed 
to come true In the 
United States, especially 
for heterosexuals. 

To date, he's published 
two articles, some 15,000 
words, in that prestigious 
journal, and it's been an 
uphill battle all the way The 
editors of the Proceedings 
enlisted' a phalanx of 
special reviewers — 26 at 
last count— to criticize his 
three submissions. None" 
could identify a single 
uncorrectable flaw in fact or 
logic, as the editors 
acknowledged, only a 
difference of opinion. 
Nonetheless, this year the 
Proceedings refused publica- 
tion of his third paper in the 
series, "The Fiole of Drugs 
In AIDS," Duesberg was 
forced to publish it in a 
French journal. 

Naturally, Pauling was 
used as a precedent for 
censoring Duesberg, with 
the Proceedings editors 
invoking the principle of 
protecting the public from 
his logic. Members are 
normally free — since they 
are all leading scientists, by 
definition — to publish what- 
ever they wish, as long as 
they run it by one 
knowledgeable colleague 
who is not a coauthor. 

To Duesberg, it seemed 
obvious. The enlisted 
reviewers freely used 
blanket statements to damn 



his points, quoting little 
if any of their own evidence 
to contradict his more 
than 600 references to 
published evidence. "The 
response is unscientific, 
biased, and discriminatory" 
he says. "It violates 
academic freedom and the 
founding phnciple of the 
Academy, to evaluate and 
disseminate knowledge." 

The leading HIV propo- 
nents seem to have trouble 
in genuinely answering 
Duesberg. Robert Gallo of 
the National Cancer Insti- 
tute was expected to reply 
to Duesberg in the Proceed- 
ings, but in three years has 
never done so, Gallo 
eventually dismissed 
Duesberg in his au- 
tobiography, a forum in 
which, skeptics pointed out, 
he was safe from his own 
peer review. Luc Monta- 
gnier, the discoverer of HIV, 
likewise promised the edi- 
tors of a French journal to 
answer Duesberg, but 
never delivered. 

Since the major media 
inevitably follow the party 
line of their scientific 
sources in dismissing 
Duesberg, his views have 
won only limited coverage 
compared with the flood of 
news and opinion articles 
and government ads and 
TV films that drum the 
official message home. 
Behind the scenes, howev- 
er, Duesberg has gained 
scientific support, Nobel 
Prize winner Walter Gilbert 
of Harvard, one of the most 
respected names in U.S. 
biology, agrees that 
Duesberg's arguments are 
strong and as yet unrefuted. 
"I would not be surprised," 
he says, "If there were 
another cause of AIDS and 
even that HIV is not 
involved." More than a 
hundred other biomedical 
researchers around the 
world have joined the Group 
for the Scientific Re- 
appraisal of the HIV/AIDS 



Hypothesis, which is publishing its own 
newsletter, Rethinking AIDS. 

In a sizable book with the same title. 
published by Macmillan Free Press in 
March, professor and MacArttiur fellow 
Robert Root- Bernstein of fvlichigan 
Stale University in East Lansing also ar- 
gues that scientists must lool< beyond 
HIV for other causes of AIDS. Root- 
Bernstein indicates that the spread of 
AIDS hasn't followed the HIV-only mod- 
el and that medical history shows myri- 
ad AIDS look-alike cases without HIV 
Infection. Even Luc [Vlontagnler, the Pas- 
teurTesearcher who discovered the 
"AIDS virus" now says that HIV is harm- 
less by itself and has identified a cell- 
wall-missing bacterium called a myco- 
plasma as the essential cofactor. 

[vieanwhile, Duesberg has lost his ex- 
ceptional $300,000-a-year Special Inves- 
tigator Grant from the National Institutes 
of Health (NIH), one of a handful award- 
ed to the most distinguished scientists 
in the United States. Ironically, the re- 
cipients were specifically urged to use 
the award to "ask creative questions" 
and "venture into new territory." The ten- 
member review panel who turned 
down the renewal mostly included sci- 
entists making a living off theories 
Duesberg is undermining. With the 
help of a letter from his local congress- 
man, Duesberg has succeeded in get- 
ting the NIH to reopen the case, 

Duesberg Is more provocative than 
Pauling in explaining his treatment. He 
suggests that the ruling paradigm is con- 
solidated by patronage. "People natu- 
rally reject a challenge to orthodoxy," 
he says. "They always did. But the 
scale is larger than ever. The orthodoxy 
never had $4 billion [of annual AIDS ex- 
penditure) in their court and a terminat- 
ed grant in the otherl" The huge inflow 
of funds has resulted in "totalitarian sci- 
ence," he says. "I am not aware of any- 
thing in history so entrenched," 

Another example of a modern Gali- 
leo where there's a great deal at stake 
IS Thomas Gold, the Cornell cosmolo- 
gist. His original ideas have been over- 
opposed throughout his career, despite 
a tendency to prove valid. 

For his master's thesis. Gold worked 
on the theory of hearing, proposing the 
idea that the inner ear generates its own 
tone. The ridicule of medical specialists 
forced him from the field. Thirty-six 
years later, he was the guest of honor 
at a conference of cochlea specialists. 
Studies found one family emitting 
sound from their ears loud enough to 
be heard without instruments. 

Gold was also the first to interpret 
pulsars as rotating neutron stars. 
When pulsars were found, the organizer 
of the first conference on the objects re- 

■ 50 OMNI 



fused to allow Gold floor time, calling 
his analysis "crazy." Later, the same 
man began a paper with these words: 
"It is now generally considered that pul- 
sars are rotating neutron stars"l 

Still hotly debated is Gold's long- 
running theory of the origin of petrole- 
um, which turns conventional wisdom 
inside out. Every school text tells us 
that oil and gas are produced biologi- ' 
cally the residue of plant life eons ago, 
crushed and fermented, so to speak, in 
the interior of the earth. Gold says this 
is quite wrong. The origins of oil and 
gas are purely geological and not bio- 
logical, he says. Oil and gas were 
formed as the planets cooled and 
should be found far outside the normal 
locations of drilling. 

Fellow scientists and petroleum en- 
gineers greet his ideas with rage and 
spite, he says, "People shake their 
fists at me!" he reports, "And the ven- 



iThere's 
always the possibility that 

the new 

idea, like most inspirations 

in science, 

is wrong, The issue is 

one of 

fairness and prejudice.? 



om — you tiave no ideal It's incrediblel 
If they could, they would burn me at the 
stake, like Savonarola," the monk who 
briefly held sway over fifteenth-century 
Florence. To Gold, the evidence is ob- 
vious. "You find methane and ethane on 
Titan and Pluto," he says, and it ema- 
nates from comets. "It is ludicrous to 
say this is bioiogically generated!" 

Acrimony arises because the major- 
ity in the field have "built an enormous 
construct and they cannot conceive 
that It is wrong," Gold says. "They 
have added on a huge edifice of sup- 
plementary notions to hold their theory 
together." That tendency has been not- 
ed since the Ptolemaic astronomers, 
who developed ever-more sophisticat- 
ed mathematics to hold back the here- 
sy of Copernicus in 1543 that the earth 
orbited the sun, not the other way 
around. Only Galileo and his telescopes 
finally demolished their defense. 

Gold tried to explain this scientific 
boneheadedness m a paper called 
"The Inertia of Scientific Thought." Why, 
he asked, is all criticism reserved for the 



new idea, while the old idea is automat- 
ically defended and any conflicting ev- 
idence simply brushed aside? Gold 
blamed a scientific "herd instinct," 
where safety and prosperity lie in run- 
ning with the pack. This phenomenon 
is magnified, Gold argues, by the peer- 
review system. When as many as sev- 
en respected colleagues turn thumbs 
up or down on grant applications or on 
articles for publication, herd decisions 
are virtually guaranteed. "It is virtually 
impossible to depart from the herd and 
continue to have support." Once a 
herd view becomes entrenched, says 
Gold, it becomes almost impossible to 
dislodge, as it becomes harder and hard- 
er for anyone to admit that a mistake 
might have been made. 

Gold quotes Tolstoy: "Most men . . . 
can seldom accept even the simplest 
and most obvious truth if it obliges 
them to admit the falsity of conclusions 
which they have delighted in explaining 
to colleagues, which they have proud- 
ly taught to others, and which they 
have woven thread by thread into the 
fabhc of their lives." There is also lazi- 
ness, Gold notes. "Staying with the 
herd needs no justification: 'Doesn't eve- 
rybody believe that?' " 

Ray Erikson, a distinguished Harvard 
biologist, says the public should under- 
stand that "scientists protect their turf 
like everybody else." But "the quality of 
data Is what matters nowadays. People 
expect clean, crisp data, and when 
they see it, they can flip-flop very fast." 

James Watson, now director of the 
Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory on 
Long Island, agrees. He points to Bar- 
bara McClintock, Her Nobel Prize-win- 
ning theory of "jumping genes"— 
genes that move from site to site on the 
chromosome — was so at odds with con- 
ventional wisdom when she first 
workeditout in the Thirties that she de- 
layed its professional publication for ten 
years. After a wait of 30 years, the diffi- 
cult theory says Watson, had been 
"shown to be true by new types of evi- 
dence which was overwhelming, and 
no one could doubt it," McClintock 
died recently a heroine of science, the 
New York Times quoting one scientist 
who called her "the most important fig- 
ure there is in biology" 

Watson agrees that scientists may 
have a built-in prejudice against new ide- 
as that challenge the status quo. 
"There is always some of that." But the 
real reason, to Watson's mind, why Paul- 
ing and Duesberg still hit a wall of in- 
difference, is lack of "convincing evi- 
dence. People still get colds and can- 
cer when they take vitamin C. Then it 
becomes, 'Has it made the cold less se- 
vere?' I take vitamin C myself to make 



my wife happy, and I still get colds, but 
I don't know if as manyl" Likowise, "Pe- 
ter [Duesberg] hasn't come up with ary 
smoking gun. You can give all the rca 
sons [for doubt] , but most of us tsnd to 
believe the simpleminded interpreta 
tion.'' Duesberg responds that this g 
nores the evidence that nearly all AIDS 
victims are involved with drugs n one 
way or another. 

Gold is now pursuing his own inefu 
table evidence in a Swedish oil v\pII 
where he reports finding methane at lev- 
els equaling those of good Oklahoma 
producers. If he's right, those who 
have stood in his way will have much 
to answer for. His theories promise a 
huge boost to global petroleum re- 
serves, since oil and gas will be found 
far beyond the usual drilling sites. 

With so much at stake, if there's even 
an outside chance that a reputable her- 
etic is right, the public interest demands 
open-minded assessment, however crit- 
ical. Anything less may let policy mak- 
ers pour billions into wrong solutions. Sci- 
ence is not a democracy. One bright 
Galileo can be right and ten thousand 
traditionalists wrong. 

Could lawyers sort out the disputes? 
They're outsiders trained in logical 
argument, after all. One law professor, 
Phillip E. Johnson of Ihe University of 
California at Berkeley, wrote a book 
recently, Darwin on Tria!. which cheek- 
ily did just that — came in and castigat- 
ed Danwin's theory of evolution as the 
unproven saored cow of biology. But 
even Johnson thinks review panels of 
lawyers would be a bad idea. "Exter- 
nal regulation would be too cumber- 
some. Scientists just have to learn to 
develop a cultural resistance to a few 
dogmatic voices cutting off lines of in- 
quiry." Thomas Geld suggests that a 
panel of top scientists outside the field 
would do the job. 

Duesberg, like many, says that divorc- 
ing funding from reigning theories 
could help. "Take the huge sources of 
income away and make science small 
and honest again," he suggests. "You 
can't expect millionaires to ask unortho- 
dox questions, if I had a company pay- 
ing me millions for counseling on HI'v', 
I should probably be silent, too. Pover- 
ty makes you honest." 

Short of these changes, a modern 
Galileo, as Pauling says, must simpiv 
wait. He quotes Max Planok, the Ger 
man who won the Nobel Prize in 1918 
for quantum theory: "Important scien 
tific Innovation rarely makes Its way by 
gradually winning over and converting 
its opponents. What does happen is 
that its opponents gradually die out and 
that the growing generation is familiar 
with the idea from the beginning DQ 




^. v^.Mm 



In the last decade, the virus 
has become the most studied infectious agent in history. 




Images of invasion 

The Dausalive 

agent of AIDS— 

Human Immune 

deficiency Virus 

(HIV]— measures 

1QD 10 120 nano 

mslers m diameter 

(top) A com 

puter generated 

image of HIV 

(above) created on 

a Cray Super 

Computer HTLV III 

mlocted lympho 

cytes (right) The virus 

(in orange) is 

buddmg from the 

plasma membrane 




Enhancel 


transmission 


transmission 


eioctronmicrograoh 


electron mlcro- 


ot AIDS >lws 


gianholtne 


DanlGles Wear lett) 


HTLV III <lnis 


Inside a 


Itar lelll 


strloken T4-i(m- 


and talse-color 


nhocyte, the 




while eiood cell 




01 the immune 




svslem AIDS 




destroys. 




BEYOND Hl\^ 
ASSEMBLING 

THE AIDS 

PUZZLE 



Almost a decade ago, Roberl 
Gallo from the National Insti- 
tutes of Health and, independ- 
ently, Luc (Vlontagnier from the 
Insiitut Pasteur in Pans an- 
nounced that a virus, which 
subsequently became known 
as HIV, was associated with the 
panoply of exotic syndromes 
and rare diseases collectively 
known as AIDS. As we know 
now, AIDS is an immunodefi- 
ciency syndrome, which means 
the immune system is no long- 
er capable of protecting a per 
son from infection or disease 
Hence, people readily succumb 
to fungal, bacterial, and viral 
infections. 

The immune system is a mo- 
bile, trillion-cell network that 
flows through the body in the 
blood and in the lymphatic sys 
tems- It's composed of many 
different types of cells, each 
with different functions. Two of 



BY COLM KELLEHER 




An imecled 
T cell (lett) typically 
has a tumpv 
appearance. The 
small, spherical 
virus panicles 
are in the process 
of hudding 
away from the coil 
membrane. 






HIV IS a retro- 
virus— lis genetic 
program Is 
held In fINA, trans- 
lates Into DNA 
Inside the T4 cell, 
and then inlil- 
irates the cell's 
own DNA, Once 
activated, the 
viral DNA 
replicates and its 



"progeny" bud from 
the cell wall, 
killing the host 
cell. A few of the 
players: Larry 0. 
Arthur of Program 
Resources, a 
subcontractor lor the 
Nahonal Cancer 
Inshtute (top); Dani 
Boiognesi [left) 
ot the Center for 
AIDS Research 
at Duke; Luc 
Montagnier, Insiitut 
Pasteur, Paris, 
discoverer of the 
virus (lower left). 



Are we now nearly at the point 

at which some of the many enigmas are yielding to scrutiny? 





A panel of 
experts itiscuss 
Uie latest 
disGoveries (lop). 
A human HTLV- 
lli cell (mlifdie). 
The orange and 
light-blue snake- 
like leaiures 
(ahovel represent 
the compo- 
nenls for replica- 
llon: genetic 
information In the 
form ol RNA 
and (he enzvme 
reverse tran- 
scriptase which 
transcribes 
viral RNA Inlo DtlA. 



54 OMMI 



ihe mos! important 
types are B lympho- 
cytes and T lympho- 
cytes, B lymphocytes 
make the antibodies 
/hich can bind to and 
mrnobilJze such foreign 
threats as bacteria and 
viruses that enter tine body 
T lymphocytes, on the oth- 
er hand, can only recog- 
nize foreign molecules 
when they're on the out- 
sides of cells. In AIDS, a 
subset of a person's T 
cells, which are called "helper 
cells," are the hardest hit. Some 
AIDS patients literally have no 
helper cells. Without T helper 
cells, the immune network is in- 
capable of distinguishing what is 
foreign from what is a normal 
part of the body. This means 
that viruses, bacteria, and fungi 
can run rampant in the person. 
Current WDrld Health Organiza- 
tion projections estimate that by 
the year 2000, as many as 40 mil- 
lion people worldwide will be 
infected with HIV of which an un- 
known percentage will eventual- 
ly die of AIDS. 

Gallo and Montagnier's an- 
nouncements set the world 
ablaze with optimism. In the in- 
tervening decade, the scientific 
community has gathered evi- 
dence that not only is HIV asso- 
ciated with AIDS, but that it 
causes AIDS. Based on this prem- 
ise, medical research has mobi- 
lized its vast resources to unrav- 
el the mechanism by which the vi- 



rus causes the disease. Billions 
ot dollars have been spent. Dur- 
ing the press conference at 
which was announced the discov- 
ery of the virus by Gallo's labora- 
tory, officials from the department 
of Health and Human Services 
confidently predicted that a vac- 
cine against the virus would be 
available within a few years. In 
hindsight, that optimism was pre- 
mature. Monetheless, in the last 
decade, the virus has become 
the most studied infectious agent 
in all of history. 

The last two or three years, 
however, have witnessed an ex- 
plosion of unexpected results: 
HIV may not act alone in killing T 
cells; most of the AIDS vaccina- 
tion strategies have yielded.nega- 
five and confusing conclusions; 
HIV can superbly mimic certain 
key molecules in the immune sys- 
tem; the outside of the virus car- 
ries parts of the outside of human 
cells with it; AIDS may be a dis- 
ease in which the immune system 
turns on itself and destroys itself — 
the virus is just the first trigger. 
What follows is the story of how 
this new picture of AIDS has re- 
cently 'unfolded. 

After the first flush of excite- 
ment following the discovery, one 
of the questions that surfaced 
was. Why are there so few virally 
infected cells present at any one 
time in the blood of an AIDS pa- 
tient? Although recently with the 
aid of powerful new molecular 
tools researchers have shown 
that more cells than initially 



thought carry copies of the virus — 
especially in the tonsils and the 
lymph glands (which are under 
the arms and in the neck and 
groin) — the enigma remains. How 
does this small packet of genet- 
ic information cause such devas- 
tation to so many cells? There 
has always been a gap in under- 
standing between the properties 
of the virus as observed in the lab- 
oratory and the actual, clinical 
course of AIDS. Today, this gap 
has been highlighted by the dis- 
covery of a small but growing num- 
ber of people who come down 
with the symptoms of AIDS but 
who clearly have no trace of HIV 
in their bodies. 

Montagnier, the discoverer of 
the virus, has devoted much 
thought to this question and has 
come up with a controversial an- 
swer. He thinks HIV might have 
at least one accomplice — an im- 
portant cofactor in the develop- 
" ment of AIDS — a microorganism 
called mycoplasma. He suggest- 
ed that mycoplasma and HIV 
might cooperate in killing T cells- 
something like sending in two hit 
men rather than one to do the 
job. Mycoplasmas — small, single- 
celled, primitive organisms that 
lack cell walls— have been isolat- 
ed from many normal human tis- 
sues. They also are used regular- 
ly in many laboratories to grow 
cells in test tubes or tissue cul- 
ture. Until now, mycoplasmas 
have been associated with diseas- 
es such as walking pneumonia, 
arthritis, and some spontaneous 
abortions, but not with fatal dis- 
eases. Montagnier's results con- 
firm work done earlier by Shyh- 
Chlng Lo, a scientist at the 
Armed Forces Institute of Pathol- 
ogy in Washington, DC. So far, 
the rest of the scientific commu- 
nity has been hesitant about Lo 
and Montagnier's findings. Many 
suspect that the two scientists are 
simply looking at mycoplasmas 
that grow naturally in nearly ev- 
ery laboratory cell culture and 
have nothing whatsoever to do 



with AIDS. Monlagnier, however, de- 
fends his theory and has recently 
launched a new foundation in Paris, to- 
gether with Frederico Mayor, general di- 
rector of UNESCO, to help scientists ex- 
ploring new research ideas. 

Another conundrum surrounding 
AIDS is that large amounts of circulat- 
ing antibodies against HIV are routine- 
ly found in the blood of AIDS patients. 
This baffles scientists. If the infected 
son can easily make so many antibod- 
ies against the virus, why is this not suf- 
ficient to stop it dead in its tracks? If the 
antibodies are doing what they should 
be doing and blocking HIV in an infect- 
ed person, then why does the person 
come down with AIDS? 

In 1988, Geoffrey Hoffmann from the 
University of British Columbia proposed 
a very novel solution to this puzzle. Sup- 
pose, he argued, that the virus had a 
similar shape to some very important 
components of the immune system and 
that the antiviral antibodies, which 
were made after HIV infection, were ac- 
tually directed against the immune sys- 
tem as well as the virus. Then the im- 
mune system would begin attacking 
and destroying itself. In other words, 
Hoffmann was predicting that AIDS was 
actually an autoimmune disease. (The 
idea that AIDS is an autoimmune dis- 
ease was first proposed by a group of 
French researchers and two American 
scientists in 1986.) 

To back up his theory that the virus 
might mimic important immune mole- 
cules, he and his colleague Tracy Kion 
reported thai when mice were injected 
with cells from another mouse, the re- 
cipient mice made antibodies against 
HIV — even though these mice had nev- 
er been exposed to H[V There was no 
virus whatsoever in his experiments, yet 
the immune system of the mice, which 
had been' injected with normal cells 
from other mice, reacted as //they had 
been injected with HIV To Hoffmann, 
this meant that HIV must be mimicl<ing 
a molecule that's found on the surface 
of normal cells. 

In fact, there is evidence that no 
less than four different parts of HIV 
were mimicl<ing the shape of a central 
molecule of the immune system called 
IVIHC — a family of molecules found on 
all cells in the body, including immune 
cells. {Hoffmann's group identified two 
of the substances that mimic MHC.) 
And, since HIV looks like MHC. 
Hoffmann thinks this shape similarity trig- 
gers waves of inappropriate immune re- 
sponses all directed not only at HIV, but 
at the immune cells themselves. Ac 
cording to Hoffmann, the immune sys- 
tem is triggered to destroy itself. 

Hoffmann's theory is very radical be- 

" 56 OMNI 



cause he claims that HIV itself Isn't ne- 
cessarily doing the damage; it just hap- 
pens to have a shape that provokes a 
strong self-destructive response from 
the immune system. But these data are 
only mildly surprising compared to 
some unexpected results that have 
emerged in the last couple of years 
from HIV vaccine research. 

The idea behind HIV vaccination is 
io fool the immune system into mount- 
ing a response against HIV without ac- 
tually injecting a patient with it, which, 
of course, might raise difficult ethical is- 
sues. Instead, most vaccine research- 
ers inject only part of a virus (like the 
outside coat) or a killed virus to provoke 
an immune response. The hope is that 
in the future, when the immune system 
sees the real virus, it will remember to 
act, and, if all goes well, will eliminate 
it. So far, however, things have not 
gone according to this basic plan. 



^Current 
World Health Organization 

projections 
estimate that by the year 

2000, as 
many as 40 million people 

worldwide 
will be infected with HIV.9 



In 1991 , E. J. Stott from the National 
Institute for Biological Standards and 
Control in Hertfordshire, England, report- 
ed that during his attempts to vacclnale 
macaque monkeys, he injected the an- 
imals with a monkey equivalent of HIV 
that had been grown in human cells. 
Not too surprising, the monkeys be- 
came protected against subsequent 
challenges to the virus. But what sent 
Shockwaves through the scientific com- 
munity was Stott's f nding that when mon- 
keys were immunized only with the 
cells that had been used io grow the 
virus, they ioo were protected. Appar- 
ently the cells themselves produced an 
immune response which seemed to be 
the source of protection against the vi- 
rus. The virus itself wasn't necessary in 
the vaccination procedure. 

The finding was completely unexpect- 
ed and clashes with a widely accept- 
ed, central tenet of vaccination dogma 
which states that the way to vaccinate 
against a virus is by using either a 
killed virus or Some part of the virus the 
immune system can recognize. Stott 



wrote, "Our results, if confirmed, may 
reveal another unique property of immu- 
nodeficiency viruses which requires ex- 
planation. . . ." The unique property 
Stott alludes to is that you don't neces- 
sarily need the virus to induce an Im- 
mune response against'it — human 
cells without the virus will do the thck. 

Stott's findings with monkeys seem 
eerily similar to the Hoffman-Kion dis- 
covery with mice which showed that 
injecting cells alone actually provoked 
an immune response against HIV even 
though HIV wasn't present. This protec- 
tion-by-cells-alone phenomenon has 
now been verified by many research- 
ers even though they aren't sure how 
the protection is working. Something 
strange is going on. 

Dani Bolognesi from the Center for 
AIDS Research at Duke University in 
North Carolina thinks that maybe the vi- 
rus can grab other cellular proteins' 
such as MHC when it's growing In the 
same cells, and that the protection 
which he, Siott, and others see in mon- 
keys is from an. immune response to 
MHC proteins rather than one against 
viral proteins. 

What exactly are these MHC protein 
molecules that, according to Hoff- 
mann and Bolognesi, seem to be so 
closely tied in with AIDS? MHC stands 
tor major histocompatibility complex. 
The molecules are on the outside of eve- 
ry cell in the body and are major sign- 
posts to the immune system for defining 
\he cellular self-identity for each individ- 
ual, (In immunology, any protein or cell 
that's manufactured by itself is defined 
as having "self-identity") It's critical 
that the immune system of a person be 
able to distinguish anything that's part 
of its own body from anything that's for- 
eign. Othenjvise, the system might at- 
tack and destroy a perfectly innocent 
part of one's own body believing it to 
be a virus or some other foreign entity 
Everyone has different MHC proteins on 
the ouisides of all of their cells. One per- 
son's Mb\C proteins are sufficiently dif- 
ferent from another person's IvlHC pro- 
teins so that both people's immune sys- 
tems are able to tell the difference 
between the two sets of cells. 

The MHC proteins are crucial in bone- 
marrow or other organ-transplantation 
operations in determining whether the 
transplant will be rejected or accepted 
by the host. When someone receives a 
transplant of incompatible cells (a dif- 
ferent IVIHC type), tfie body reacts and 
rejects the transplant. When a person's 
immune system has been weakened, a 
transplant of foreign celis can cause a 
severe disease known as graft-versus- 
host disease (GVHD). 

Since 1983, researchers have no- 

COrjTINUED ON PAGE SB 








' ■■ iction By Simon D. Ings 




t 


llusuallons By Vem Dufford 


"1000 hp on this circuit? Madness." 




— NiU Lauda 




1 



The sea is off-white, banded by blue 
wave-shadow. A line of clotted cioud 
lies between it and the cobalt sky of La 
Rochelle, Angfeie tail^s bui I'm not lis- 
tening, I'm building sand castles, 

I lie down In front of ihe model and 
pick away the square and the Boulen- 
grlns with a fingernail, I press my little 
finger at a slant Into the model to Indl- 
cale the tunnel through to the harbor. 
The finishing touch: I trail sand between 
my fingers along the edge of the cliff 
to make the concrete wall Frasange de- 
molished last year when his throttle 
jarfimed at 600 kph. 

The Monaco Grand Prix is fifteen 
days away. 

Angfele peels off her shirt and heads 
for the water I want to join her. The af- 
ternoon has steam-ironed my face and 
my shirt is dripping sweat. I want to 
dive into sea so cold it churns the gut, 
but I can't risk getting sea water in my 
jacks this close to a race. 

It's sunset. The haze turns brown and 
rotten before Angele reaches the div- 
ing tiers. When she falls her silhouette 
is as sharp and black as the wave shad- 
ows, a black slash piercing a hyphen- 
ated surface, I think of trajectories, Gs 
and vectors, fire masks, halogens, 
wheel jacks and robots, flags like bun- 
ting and visors filled with drunken 
kangi. 

The jack behind my anus is itching. 

We walk back to town through the ar- 
cades to the market. A man is hosing 
the forecourt with seawater. The gutters 
are full of tabloids and endive. 

We get a room above a cafe with a 
view of the market roof. We fetch our 
luggage from the station, Angele puts 
her PC at the foot of the bed, pulls out 
the IBGN lead and crawls about the 
floor cursing. We miss the first five min- 
utes of "Danseuses Mouvelles." 

They came from Dijon a year ago 
and they're top of the TVP ratings. 
They dance to Salieri and Skinny Pup- 
py, to De Machaut and The Crucial 
Bridging Group. They are a women- 
only company and espouse the politics 
of the Programme Pour Femmes Fer- 
m6es — the Agenda for Expressionless 
Women. Last year ihe French parlia- 
ment, outraged by the atrocities of 
Aout '34, placed a media ban on the 
Programme, The Amazons of the Sor- 
bonne and the Academie Julienne are 
silenced now, but Danseuses Nou- 
velles, whose pieces are the product of 
their rrfore sober semiotic researches, 
have never been more popular. 

Few have forgotten or forgiven the 
sack of the Sacre Coeur, the on-stage 
emasculation of Bim Bam's drummer 
and lead guitarist, the siege of the Jeu 
de Paume or the siluationist over- 

60 OMNI 



painting of Seurafs Baigneurs. 

And yet, A glamour surrounds 
Danseuses Nouvelles. Us dances play 
out strange, deconstructed stories, and 
act their warped yet familiar roles with 
an Inhuman grace. Their performances 
whisper of the world as the Programme 
wants to shape it. They are the dream 
in its pure state — a glimpse of an end, 
uncompromised by violent means. 

After the show Angela and 1 make 
love. It is iove with a fluid rhythm. 
There is a sweet, shared violence to it, 
Angele gasps and clutches at me, the 
bed, anything; I gaze into her widening 
eyes. There, in the wet blankness of the 
pupil, I can see them. I gaze closer, clos- 
er — Angele's tongue flicks at my chin 
and I catch it in my lips, my teeth, suck 
at it like a baby put to the breast. 
Danseuses Nouvelles — missionaries 
from the land of strong women — are 
dancing in her eyes. 



4She held 
the orange carcass of her 

latest 

victim between finger and 

thumb and 

twirled it by its claw, 

I treated 
her to a bitter smile,? 



The thing I remember most about Cathar- 
ine is the way she ate Dublin Bay 
prawns. She broke their backs with ca- 
sual, sadistic gestures. When her red 
tongue flicked back the white pus with- 
in them, she put me in mind of a cat. 

This was six months ago, in Quimper, 
1 don't know how she got my number. 
She told me quite openly who It was 
she worked for, and since the Program- 
me had never to my knowledge 
worked with men, I was intrigued at her 
invitation. Perhaps It was naive of me, 

"They say racing drivers talk more 
and do less about sex than men in any 
other sport." Sh^ held the orange car- 
cass of her latest victim between finger 
and thumb and twirled it by its claw 
over her plate, I treated her to a bitter 
smile. The playboy reputation, and its 
sarcastic flip side, is one we no longer 
deserve. There is no Baron von Trips 
on the circuit now, no Count Godin de 
Beaufort, no Ines' Ireland, no Lance Re- 
ventlow. Everything has become too 
competitive- and commercial. Indeed, 
by the nineties the playboy image had 



all but expired, "Formula Zero has re- 
kindled our infamy," I explained, "rJew 
cars. New regulations. They want to re- 
kindle the old magic, It's plastic. Pack- 
aged. Our sponsors twist incidents in- 
to publicity gimmicks, it sells ratings," 

"It does not anger you?" 

I shrugged. "If it did not, would I be 
here?" The claw broke and the gutted 
corpse soft-landed in a pillow of saffron 
rice. It was her turn to smile. 

She pushed aside her plate, lifted her 
PC onto the table, licked her fingers 
and typed. She read: "Cool, rational, sel- 
dom angered, seldom sulks when dis- 
appointed — " She gave me a cool 
glance. "Bisexual, last cruised In Gron- 
Ingen four years ago, in '42 had a 
short relationship with hypertext writer, 
male, in London, long-standing corre- 
spondence with lesbian activists in Se- 
attle, New York, Brisbane, Porto — " 

She turned the screen round for me 
to see. "Hardly the stuff of blackmail," 
I said, 

Catharine tutted, "Of course not. 
What would be the point? Publish and 
be Damned' — that would be your atti- 
tude, no?" 

"It has been for a long tirne. But Hav- 
ers has a way of buying off the papers 
before things like that get too far," 

"You must be quite a headache for 
her; a 'new man' at pole position." 

"Ivlaureen Havers is old." I said. "Be- 
cause she's old, 'She's a legend. If a leg- 
end runs a company it has an interest 
in creating subsidiary legends — appro- 
priate legends." 

"So she puts you in the closet," 

"I'm glad of the privacy If I were Don 
Juan, I wouldn't get any privacy at all. 
She'd make sure of it." 

Catharine stroked her chin, "Is she 
an evil woman?" 

"She is sad," I replied, "She lost her 
son to Formula Libre in Brazil. Her en- 
gineers built a car that cornered too 
well for him. The Interlagos circuit 
curves the wrong way round, fHe 
wasn't properly prepared for the extra 
G-strain." 

Catharine waved her hand dismissive- 
ly, "I'm not Interested in technicalities," 

I looked at her a long time then said, 
"He was still burning when I pulled him 
out. His visor had melted into his 
face." She pursed her lips. She even 
had the decency to blush. 'Tm sorry" 

"Formula Libre is just what it says," 
I went on. Ignoring her apology "a free- 
for-all, a freak-show for fast cars. But For- 
mula One was outdated, and good new 
designers were turning to 'Libre rather 
than be straight-jacketed. Havers built 
up Formula Zero to codify some of lib- 
re's better ideas. She made it, and dom- 
inated it, and now, because she's old, 

COMTINUED ON PAGE 83 





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n the future, geoengineers tinkering witli tiie sl(y may patcii up the 







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36 




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ozone hole, stem global warming, and reverse the ravages of pollution. 



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n emerging technologies restore wiiat pollution lias talcen away? 




The large, oval- 
shaped, mauve area 
at left 15 the 
ozone hole, which 
stretches from 
the South Pole to 
the tip of South 
America, at top. 
Right, top, a 
scientist checks a 
steel vessel with 
cells for sampling 
ozone depleting 
pollutants Right, 
bottom, IS the 
sort of weather bal- 
loon used to 
measure atmospher- 
ic ozone and 
related pollutants. 




climate. And, they add, chemicals to patch up the ozone 
hole caused by industrial and consumer release of 
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) may be the only way to pre- 
vent the entry of harsh solar rays and the extra skin can- 
cers that would result. 

If the idea of changing the biosphere sounds risky, re- 
spectable scientists nonetheless are taking it seriously. Rob 
Coppock, who recently directed a National Academy of 
Sciences (NAS) study of geoengineering for the U.S. Con- 
gress, says, "We were skeptical at first, but many ideas 
seemed both feasible and cost effective." 

In fact, perusal of the NAS report reveals much to 
choose from. Some of the 59 so-called mitigation strate- 
gies were as simple as painting roofs white to cut down 
on heat absorption or improving the efficiency of lights 
and water heaters to cut demand for electricity from coal- 
fired generators, "Just getting every household in the 
United States to replace three incandescent bulbs with 
high-efficiency fluorescents would cut residential energy 
demand in half," Coppock, now with the World Resourc- 
es Institute notes. 

But according to former NASA Administrator Robert 
Frosch, who wrote most of the geoengineering report, 
these inexpensive options won't be adequate. "If you did 
all the relatively cheap options, they would reduce the ef- 
fect of greenhouse gasses by no more than forty percent 
and perhaps as little as twenty percent," notes Frosch, 
now vice president for environmental compliance at Gen- 



eral Motors. "You really need something more." 

That's where geoengineering comes in. At its simplest, 
geoengineering offers to reforest more than 28 million hec- 
tares — about 17,500 square miles— of marginal U.S. farm- 
land, so trees can absorb the carbon dioxide that indus- 
try and consumers give off. More spectacular proposals 
include lofting vast mirrors into space to reflect excess sun- 
light away from the planet and thus avoid global warm- 
ing; deploying naval guns, rockets, or balloons to carry 
dust or soot into the stratosphere as a planetary sunshade; 
fertilizing the ocean to promote the growth of algae that 
would absorb carbon dioxide; and dumping hydrocarbons 
into the Antarctic stratosphere to react with CFCs before 
they can destroy the ozone layer. 

As it turns out, say the experts, space-based options 
can be dismissed out of hand. The price of orbiting mir- 
rors would be as far out of this world as the reflectors them- 
selves. If each mirror were 100 million square meters — 
about 39 square miles — it would take 55,000 of them to 
counteract the world's output of greenhouse gasses. To 
offset only U.S. emissions, 110 mirrors would be required. 
But at space-shuttle prices, the tab for putting them up 
would come to at least $120 billion, not counting the re- 
flectors themselves. Even by Washington standards, 
space reflectors seem expensive. 

The obvious alternative is what Frosch calls a "space 
parasol," an orbiting dust cloud to screen out incoming 
sunlight. Ideally the dust particles should be small so 



that a few tons of tfiem can cover ttie 
largest possible area, keeping launch 
costs to a minimum. But the solar wind 
quickly sweeps tiny particles back into 
the planet's atmosphere. And if the par- 
ticles are large enough to remain in or- 
bit, the price of putting them there 
soars out of sight. 

According to the report, some terrestrh 
al options for geoengineehng may be 
more economic, to say the least. One 
category, flippantly dubbed "pollution 
pro bono," is the ultimate quick-and- 
dirty answer to global warming: Just 
add some soot, dust, or sulfuric acid to 
the stratosphere and make a sunshade 
H//f/iouf paying for space launches. It's 
■ not as outlandish as it sounds^Mt. Pl- 
natubo did just that in 1991. Since 
then, according to the National Ocean- 
ic and Atmospheric Administration, the 
planet has cooled about 1.5 degrees, 
and the temperature seems likely to dip 
another half degree or so— four times 
more than enough to reverse all the glob- 
al warming believed to have occurred 
since the last century. 

In fact, acid pollution spewed into the 
lower atmosphere by factory smoke- 
stacks may already shield much of 
North America and Europe from global 
warming, according to the United Na- 
tions Intergovernmental Panel on Cli- 



mate Change. Burning fossil fuels 
throws sulfate particles into the air, fil- 
tehng out sunlight much like volcanic 
dust. Atmospheric chemist Robert 
Charlson of the University of Washing- 
ton in Seattle calculates that pollution 
cools the northern hemisphere down to 
the tune of one watt of solar energy per 
square meter, countecacting about 40 
percent of the global warming caused 
by the greenhouse effect. 

Pure dust at very high altitudes in the 
stratosphere, according to NAS calcu- 
lations, would be even more effective 
at counteracting the greenhouse effect. 
A single kilogram offsets 400 tons of 
COg in the air, according to the NAS cal- 
culations. At that rate, 20 million kilo- 
grams would eliminate any warming 
due to U.S. greenhouse emissions. The 
atmosphere already receives between 
1 and 3 billion tons of dust each year, 
most of it from natural sources, so the 
amount to be added seems likely to 
prove harmless. 

The MAS report suggests three 
ways to distribute the dust; Launch it 
with rockets like the surplus Nike Ori- 
on, lift It with the helium balloons now 
used to carry scientific payloads, or 
shoot it into the stratosphere with na- 
val guns. Rockets and balloons would 
cost from S80 to $100 per kilogram of 




dust, so naval artiliery, at only $10 to 
$30 per kilogram, seems the best 
choice. At that pnce. it would cost less 
than $1 per ton of CO^ to prevent glob- 
al warming. Ifwemustshopforgeoengi- 
neering strategies, this is the bargain 
basement. 

A fourth Frosch idea is to use 
planes and boats to give off pollutants 
that would, in turn, counteract the ef- 
fects of global warming. For instance, 
geoengineers could detune the engines 
of commercial aircraft flying higher 
than 30,000 feet so that 1 percent of 
their fuel gets spewed out as soot. At 
that altitude, Frosch explains, particu- 
lates remain in the air for only 83 days, 
on" average, compared with two to 
three years for stratospheric dust. So 
the sun screen must be renewed more 
often. But the price is lower — it would 
cost just a penny a year to offset the 
damage of a ton of COj. 

Similar results would come from burn- 
ing sulfur on ships steaming back and 
forth across the South Pacific, sending 
a sulfur-dioxide aerosol into the lower 
atmosphere. Water would condense on 
the sulfur-dioxide droplets, creating ar- 
tificial clouds. And according to several 
studies, it would take only a 4-percent 
increase in cloud cover over the oceans 
to offset the warming caused by a dou- 
bling of atmospheric CO^. Again, the 
cost seems reasonable, as geoengi- 
neering plans go. It would take an esti- 
mated 6 million tons per year of sulfur 
to produce the desired clouds. Assum- 
ing that a single ship can burn 100 
tons per day, then 200 ships at sea 300 
days per year would do the trick. If the 
ships cost $100 million each, plus 
$10,000 per day to operate, it would 
cost a dollar per ton of COj to eliminate 
the greenhouse effect. That's an attrac- 
tive price, even compared with the 
cheapest energy-saving strategies. 

Predictably, all these schemes 
came under attack as soon as they 
were announced. Chief among the orlt- 
ics is Seattle's Robert Charlson, whose 
work helped inspire this line of geoengi- 
neering in the first place. "Some peo- 
ple have misinterpreted our findings," 
he declares. Using sulfates or dust to 
counteract global warming "is an unwork- 
able proposition. You would have to 
have a designer sulfate and disthbute 
it in just the right fashion. It's impossible 
to get that level of control." 

Even if you could, he adds, "it still 
wouldn't solve the problem. The goal 
isn't just to avoid a slight increase in av- 
erage global temperature, but to avoid 
climatic changes — droughts or flooding 
where we're not prepared for them. 
Greenhouse gases trap heat both 
night and day, but sulfates or dust 



would screen it out only during the day. 
You might get the average temperature 
to balance, but you'd alter the day- 
night temperature difference. In princi- 
ple, that might render whole portions of 
ttie planet uninhabitable." 

In light of these objections, geoengi- 
neers fiave come up with less conten- 
tious ways of fighting global warming. 
In fact, the only plan that virtually no one 
argues with is to stop cutting down 
trees. In nature, trees are an important 
sink for COg. Wood is about half car- 
bon, and trees absorb carbon dioxide 
very efficiently until they mature; in 
some species, this fast-growing period 
can last 40 to 50 years. And when 
burned or allowed to rot, trees are a ma- 
jor source of COg, methane, and other 
greenhouse gases. Some ecologists esti- 
mate that protecting just one forest, the 
Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve in Costa Ri- 
ca's Corcovado National Park, will 
save 8.7 million metric tons of carbon 
over the next ten years. 

Take the next step, planting new 
trees, and the Johnny Appleseed op- 
tion becomes a form of geoengineering 
as well A few U.S. utility companies are 
already creating forests in order to off- 
set the COj produced by their coal- 
fired generators. For example. Applied 
Energy Ser^'ices of Arlington, Virginia, 



is planting trees in Guatemala on the the- 
ory tfiat they'll soak up as much CO^ as 
their Connecticut power plant emits. 

The real goal, however, is not just to 
grow trees, but to substitute blomass en- 
ergy for petroleum. Oil constantly pulls 
carbon from deep in the ground where 
it's been locked away fortens of millions 
of years and spews it into the atmos- 
phere. In contrast, blomass emits no 
more carbon dioxide than the plants ab- 
sorbed from the air in the first place. In 
theory, switching to blomass energy 
coufd halt the increase in global 002- 
According to biologist David Hall of 
King's College of the University of Lon- 
don, in fact, the strategies of reforesta- 
tion, increased energy efficiency, and 
conversion to biomass wherever pos- 
sible could cut COg emissions in half in 
about 60 years. 

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of bio- 
mass, mostly in the form of trees, to 
make a difference; that's why some- 
thing as simple as planting trees is 
called geoengineering in the first 
place. Hall himself estimates that offset- 
ting just 5.4 billion tons per year of car- 
bon generated by fossil fuels might re- 
quire as much as 600 million hectares 
of biomass plantations^which would 
encompass an area equal to 40 per- 
cent of the world's cropland, or more 



than half the size of the United States. 

Then again, not all crops require 
land. At the Electric Power Research In- 
stitute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, California, en- 
gineer Dwain F Spencer is designing 
giant kelp farms to produce biomass en- 
ergy under tbe sea. Eventually, they 
could cover some 7 million square 
miles of the ocean's surface. "Each 
farm would produce about eighteen mil- 
lion cubic feet of methane per day," 
Spencer reports. "It would take twenti^ 
five hundred of Ihem to equal U.S. pro- 
duction of natural gas." 

Geoengineers interested in the 
ocean have also been exploring anoth- 
er option — absorbing excess COj with 
the equivalent of an ocean rain forest, 
the huge quantities of marine algae 
that can be cultivated in the sea. The 
idea was first spawned by biologist 
John Martin of California's Moss Land- 
ing Marine Laboratory. Martin's plan 
was born of a mystery that has puzzled 
marine biologists for years. In parts of 
the Pacific, the water is rich in nutrients 
like nitrogen and phosphorous, yet mi- 
croscopic plants — phytoplankton — 
grow poorly It isn't that the water is too 
cold or the light insufficient. The limiting 
factor, it turns out, is iron. Whenever Mar- 
tin and colleagues fertilized water from 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 92 




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9 arvard Universily: Four 
1 hundred students 
watch as a slide is projected 
of a large silver-bacl<sd 
gorilla in his natural habitat. 
The lecturer shifts back on 
his heels, throws out his 
chest, and intones, "And this 
individual rejoices in the 
scientific name. Gorilla gorilla 
gorilla." As a warm laugh 
spreads across the crowd, a 
teaching assistant lurking in 
the shadows thinks to 
himself, "My God, DeVore 
gets a laugh cut of merely 
stating the species' name!" 

Irven DeVore is in his 
natural habitat, explaining the 
facts and implications of 
human evolution to a highly 
appreciative crowd of 
Harvard undergraduates. Of 
course, DeVcre doesn't 
always please the crowd. 
There are times when — 
throuCjh .neglect or profound 
intrapsychic disconnect or 
whatever — DeVore fumbles 
and fails, and Harvard's fickle 
undergraduates turn from 
adoration to scorn, filling the 
lecture hall with loud sounds 
of hissing. In this situation, on 
the way out of the hall, 
DeVore will stroke his chin 
and declare to his retinue of 
teaching assistants, "Another 
case of casting false pearls 
before real swine." Now it's 
their turn tc laugh. By God, 
nothing fazes this man, and 
by implication, nothing 
should faze them either. 

Teaching human evolution 
is a little like juggling: The 
more topics you keep in the 
air, the better the show. By 
this criterion, Irv DeVcre puts 
on a good show, indeed. A 
master of pnmate behavior, 
he has 20 years of field 
experience studying human 
hunters and gatherers. 
He routinely keeps up with 
the latest work in paleontology 
and archaeology as well as 



The primal dramatist: He sees the script 
of human evolution vividly played out by the great apes. 






Harvard's Peabedy Musevm; DeVnre 

recently cur of ad an exhibit 

featuring his pfaeles af Kalahari bwshmets. 



S0CI0B10L0®¥: 

"It has brought about a 
revolution in under- 
standing how evolution 
has sliaped behavior. 
At heart is the 
demonstration thai nat- 
ure! selection is most 
accurately seen from 
the 'point of view' of 
the individual and the 
gene father than a 
process operating on 
a group or species. 
We can now analyze 
with some rigor com- 
plex behaviors such 



truism, parental care, 
mate choice, and 
foraging patterns. Al- 
most from the begin- 
ning, many of us felt 
this theory would 
revolutionize the study 
of human behavior," 

"It's difficult to argue 
that strategies being 
employed by chimps 



in their 'wars' differ 
significantly frorri the 
raiding by human 
males from tribal 
kinship units on males 
in an adjoining ter- 
ritory, where the intent 
IS to secure larger land 
resources and capture 
females and young." 

To understand culture- 
less, stripped-down 
animal societies as 
a way of thinl<;ing 
about Individuals In 
social groups In 
terms. 



"It's tragic to find 
chimpanzees and their 
habitats heading to- 
ward extinction. What 
would happen if space 
probes discovered a 
planet with creatures 
who shared 98 per- 
cent of our genes? 
We'd spend billions to 
send expeditions!" 



neurobiology and psycholo- 
gy. And' unique among 
anthropologists of his genera- 
tion, he has mastered the 
new research in soctoblology. 

Born and raised in rural 
Texas," DeVore did under- 
graduate worl< at the 
University of Texas, Pursuing 
his doctorate in American 
Indian archaeology at the 
University of Chicago, in the 
late Fifties, he fell under the 
sway of Sherwood Washburn, 
a noted anthropologist with 
the wit at that time to study 
baboons instead of humans, 
in his doctoral study on the 
social life of East African 
baboons, DeVore discovered 
a central hierarchy among 
the adult males In a troop. 
Several support each other in 
interactions with males out- 
side the hierarchy, so victory 
between two males is often 
contingent on the behavior of 
a third baboon. This was the 
first clearly demonstrated 
case of reciprocal altruism 
seen outside our own 
species; each male tending 
to solicit for support a male 
who had recently solicited 
him, DeVore's research was 
part of the new wave in 
primatology in which social 
relations in monl^eys and 
apes are scrupulously stud- 
ied in the wild to gain per- 
spective On human evolution. 

DeVore's embrace of 
primate behavior soon led 
him to evolutionary theory. 
This had a shattering effect 
on his relationship with 
mentor and friend Sherry 
Washburn. Washburn was 
used to thinl<ing about 
baboon and human behavior 
within the comfortable "group 
selection" paradigm of the 
day (individuals act for the 
benefit of the group or 
species). But In biology, the 
new paradigm was individual 
action for Individual repro- 
ductive gain, or even worse, 
individual genes acting for 
individual genetic advantage. 



DeVore's conversion to 
sociobiology was about as 
pleasant as "Saul's on the 

road to Tarsus." At its 
conclusion, DeVore stood 
firmly on his own, but his 
relationship with Washburn 
was ruptured, his reputation 
as a political liberal at risk. 
For him, the separation 
between humans and other 
creatures — between biology 
and social sciences— was 
forever eradicated. 

As befits a person of his 
intelligence and warmth, 
DeVore has attracted a 
swarm of outstanding stu- 
dents who now populate 
major universities throughout 
the United States and 
beyond. Perhaps those who 
give him greatest pride are 
the women, some of whom 
(such as Sarah Hrdy at the 
University of California at 
Davis and Barbara Smuts at 
the University of (ylichigan) 
are defining a feminism firmly 
rooted In evolutionary biology. 

iviarried to Nancy Similes, 
who runs Anthro Photo, 
DeVore is the father of two 
children and grandfather to 
three more. Now silver haired 
himself and busy with a 
thousand and one commit- 
ments, DeVore sat down for 
this interview in his spacious 
office at Harvard's Peabody 
Museum of Anthropology 

— Robert L. Trivers 

Editor's note: Bob Trivers, 
the DeVore teaching assis- 
tant "lurking in the shadows, " 
is now an eminent sociobiolo- 
glst Professor of biology at 
the University of California at 
Santa Cruz and author of 
Social Evolution, Trivers was 
the subject of an Omni 
interview in July 1985. 

Omni: Have the thousands of 

recently gathered fossil 

hominid specimens changed 

our understanding of human 

evolution? 

DeVore: in almost every way 

I l<now. These specimens 



stretch across Europe, Asia, and Afri- 
ca and cover the iast 5 miilion years. 
The riew finds are so rich thai we can 
now argue about the fine detaiis of hu- 
man evolution. 

Omni: You and I l^now there's no "miss- 
ing link." So what do we have? 
DeVore: There never was a "creature" 
between ourselves and the chimpan- 
zee. Chimps and hominids have had 5 
to 6 million years of independent evo- 
lution. We stand in reiation to chimps 
as, say, second cousins who are de- 
scended from common great-grandpar- 
ents. Meverlheless, when you examine 
the remains of the earliest austraiopithe- 
cines — Australopithecus afarensis. 
"Lucy" and her kin^ — you're looking at 
a creature 3 to 4 million years old that 
comes amazingiy close to combining hu- 
man and ape traits. 

These early australopiihecines had 
clearly adapted to bipedal walking, yet 
neither the pelvis nor the feet are fully 
modern. The arms are long and "ape- 
like," the fingers and toes long and 
curved. This suggests they were still 
spending a lot of time in the trees or 
they had only very recenliy evolved in- 
to upright walkers. Both could be true. 
Add to this that they had ape-sized 
brains and the males had much longer 
canines than females, and you have a 
creature that is a mosaic of ape and hu- 
man traits. Someday we'll find an earli- 
er and even more apelike hominid, but 
afarensis is already so close in time and 
body form to the great apes, we can al- 
most predict what a creature that is 
even closer to the division of apes and 
hominids will look like. 
Omni: Can you describe how our ape 
ancestors behaved? 
DeVore: Not really but one colleague 
has postulated that the evolutionary suc- 
cess of the early hominids is based on 
the factlhat males and females were 
pair-bonding, and males heavily invest- 
ed in their offspring. I think the chance 
that this was true is near zero. 

Early australopitheclnes showed too 
much physical dimorphism between the 
sexes. Estimates of the greater size of 
afarensis males over females range 
from 1 .5 to 1 .8 depending on what you 
measure. There is no living mammal 
and certainly no living primate in 
which such a big difference in male/ 
female size has led to pair-bonding or 
significant male investment in offspring. 
Looking only at relative body weights, 
male to female, of the apes and our- 
selves, we find the foltowing; gibbons 
are 1:1; we are T2:1: chimpanzees are 
1.4:1; gorillas 2:1; and orangutans 
2.3:1. Only the gibbons, who are phys- 
ically monomorphic, are monogamous, 
pair-bonding apes. So it's exceedingly 

72 OMNI 



unlikely that australopithectnes could 
have been pair-bonding. 
Omni: Can we assume that the upright, 
tool-using hominid adaptation was so 
successful that it swept all other crea- 
tures before it? 

DeVore: Exactlyl Only a few years ago, 
when fossil finds were scarce and dat- 
ing methods poor, it was perfectly fea- 
sible to squeeze all forms into a single 
line, from a primitive ancestor right 
through to modern l-lomo sapiens. In ret- 
rospect, we shouldn't be surprised 
that the later hominids coexisted 

One of the most perplexing problems 
is the Neanderthals. Until recently, we 
thought of them as a genetic popula- 
tion isolated by the continental ice 
sheets in Western Europe. Now, Ofer 
Bar-Yosef [Harvard] and colleagues 
have clear evidence from caves in Is- 
rael that Neanderthals and Homo sapi- 
ens lived contemporaneously — some- 



6My first reaction 

to the new theories of 

sociobiology was 

to dismiss them. But after 

six months, my 
previous view of the world 

crashed. Almost 
overnight I was converted. 9 



times in adjacent caves— for about 
100,000 years. Both used comparative- 
ly simple Mousterian tools, based on 
flakes struck from rock cores. 

Cro-Magnon l-lomo sapiens, best 
known from Western Europe, emerged 
only 35,000 years ago. About 20,000 
years ago. Homo sapiens emerged tri- 
umphant with the complex, late-Paleo- 
lithic tool kit: harpoons, needles, 
knives, arrow points, and so on. Poor 
old Neanderthal sticks to Mousterian 
tools for 100,000 years and goes kaput 
about33,000yearsago. At the very lat- 
est stage, on the threshold of domina- 
tion by Homo sapiens, two exceeding- 
ly similar species are coexisting. 
Omni: Are humans pair-bonding? 
DeVore: In the West, we assume the 
"natural condition" is monogamy, with 
significant investment in offspring by hus- 
band/father. But a worldwide sample of 
over 1,500 human cultures strongly ar- 
gues that the vast majority either encour- 
age or at least tolerate polygyny — sev- 
eral women married to a single man. I 
know of no society outside nation- 



states, and societies over which they 
hold dominion, that are not polygynous. 
High-status males almost always have 
numerous wives, and lowest-status 
have none. Clearly, culture makes a 
huge difference. 

In a few societies, polyandry — sev- 
eral men, usually brothers, married to 
the same woman — predominates. Oth- 
er matrilineal societies trace kin rela- 
tions through women. The bond be- 
tween husband and wife is often weak, 
sexual infidelity high, and divorce easy. 
Such societies commonly rely on a broth- 
er/sister household. The male authority 
figure is not the father, but the mother's 
brother: the uncle. Child rearing is not 
entrusted to a male-female bond 
based on sexual interests between hus- 
band and wife, but is organized around 
the more stable brother-sister unit. Hus- 
band/fathers may come and go, but the 
underlying stability of the domestic unit 
is not jeopardized by the shifting sexu- 
al interests of the parents. 
Omni: Haven't you just described a 
world of male chauvinist fantasy, 
where males "of strength and status 
give vent to their basest sexual appe- 
tites and reproductive drivps. 
DeVore: That is the judgment of most 
people in our society, and it's heavily 
reinforced by church, state, and cultur- 
al values. But in most cultures, women 
would be furious if a law were passed 
that decreed they could not become 
the second, third, or sixth wife of a 
wealthy high-status male when the al- 
ternative was a monogamous union 
with a poor, low-status male. 
Omni: Why might a woman join a polygy- 
nous household? 

DeVore: Polygyny seems more frequent 
in the tropics and in sections highest in 
parasites. This makes sense if the 
polygynous male has better genes. 
Where parasite load [variations in mor- 
tality and fecundity due to parasites] is 
higlier, people will emphasize parasite- 
resistant genes in choice of mates at 
the expense of parental investment. 
Omni: What criteria might humans use 
to select tor such genes? 
DeVore: That's the questJonI In other 
species, especially birds and lizards, 
bright coloration and complex song re- 
veal absence of parasites, but except 
for song and dance — which may in- 
deed be better developed among trop- 
ical peoples — we know of no trait obvi- 
ously evolved to reveal parasite load In 
humans. David Buss and colleagues 
find thai parasite load correlates with em- 
phasis on physical attractiveness in 
mate choice. Where average parasite 
load is higher, people pay more atten- 
tion {or at least claim to) to physical beau- 
ty in choosing a mate in contrast to fi- 



delity and wealth. Even in a society 
with a relatively modest parasite load 
such as ours, we know from vast expe- 
rience that physical beauty is an Import- 
ant factor throughout our lives, 
Omni: But what is physical beauty? 
DeVore: Symmetrical faces seem to be 
especially pleasing to other humans. Ju- 
dith Langois has shown that when a se- 
ries of real faces is computer averaged, 
people prefer the averaged faces. And 
averaging mai<es the resulting face 
more symmetrical. This hooks up with 
evidence from biology that male sym- 
metry is an important contributor to 
male mating success. 

Parasites are likely to be a major 
cause of asymmetry in the body, since 
parasites typically have localized ef- 
fects, and where these interfere with de- 
velopment, they'll lead to asymmetries. 
As so often happens in nature, male- 
male competition and female choice ap- 
pear to go hand in hand. Asymmetries 
will also make it less likely that males 
will succeed in aggressive encounters 
with other males. It's greatly satisfying 
to see symmetry reemerge as a central 
concept of evolutionary biology, not in 
some abstract way, but In a concrete 
form that links detection of parasite dam- 
age with physical beauty. 
Omni: You were a social anthropolo- 
gist, and many social scientists sound-; 
ly rejected sociobiology. What led you 
to be an early advocate of this theory? 
DeVore; That's a planted question if I 
ever heard one! As you know very 
well, it was you who sat at my kitchen 
table night after night and patiently ex- 
plained the intellectual revolution being 
brought ^out by William □, Hamilton, 
G. C. Williams, and John Ivlaynard- 
Smith. Within a few years, your own con- 
tributions were to transform the field. 
These new theories ran contrary lo al- 
most everything I'd learned, and my 
first reaction was to utterly dismiss 
them. But after about six months, my pre- 
vious view of the world crashed, and al- 
most overnight I was converted, 
Omni: Converted? 

DeVore: Yes. This theory is so funda- 
mental that you can't accept just little 
pieces of it. rejecting portions you don't 
like. It's all or nothing. Sociobiology was 
immediately attacked by the left as a 
gene-driven theory of biological reduc- 
tionism. Since we saw it as the current 
culmination of the Darwinian synthesis, 
I found this quite ironic. Darwin's origi- 
nal work was attacked by the Establish- 
ment of England and America as be- 
ing "radical," and now the logical syn- 
thesis of Dara/in and modern genetics 
was being attacked as "conservative," 

The critics of sociobiology suc- 
cumbed to a form of fallacious reason- 



ing that grows out of the fear that what- 
ever is biological must be "natural and 
good" — hence, a scientific justification 
foralloftheevilin the world. This is non-- 
sense: Diphtheria and typhoid are "nat- 
ural"; vaccines against diseases are "cul- 
tural," Ninety-nine percent of all species 
in the fossil record have either gone ex- 
tinct or evolved into forms so different 
they cannot be referred' to their an- 
cestors. Natural selection is a terrible 
and selfish machine, but to pretend It 
does not exist, to sweep it under the in- 
tellectual rug, is to remain willfully igno- 
rant of the facts, 

I came to realize that "social scien- 
tists" had been suborned by their infor- 
mants While a few — ^especiallv econo- 
mists^ie^nqnizpd splfFh inntivp'^ in liu 



man nature, most anthropologists, so- 
ciologists, and psychologists accepted 
the received cultural values that exhort 
individuals toward altruistic behavior as 
the behavioral norm — as truth. I now 
see individuals exhorting each other to 
behave altruistically while privately be- 
having selfishly Certain politicians and 
televangelists come immediately to 
mind. On the other hand, many of the 
most enduring cultural and religious val- 
ues are precisely those that exhort hu- 
mans to rise above their self-centered 
"nature" and embrace altruistic values. 
Omni: I know this led to contradictions 
in your social and intellectual life, 
DeVore: It certainly did But after near- 
ly a decade working through what I mi- 
liallv saw as contradictions I came lo 



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see that most social science was 
based on "group-selection thinking": 
that because humans are a social spe- 
cies, individuals must suborn their self- 
ish motivations for the good of the 
group. This logic is both compelling 
and human6^ "If we do not hang togeth- 
er, we shall surely hang separately." Un- 
fortunately, every attempt to model 
group benefit, as opposed to individual 
benefit, has failed. Since we are the 
first species sentient enough to recog- 
nize the Inexorable and avi^ul implica- 
tions of natural selection, we are the 
first to have opportunities lo ameliorate 
the process. But as I look about me, I 
see the vast majority of humans follow- 
ing the ancient, selfish, and ultimately 
destructive dictates of natural selection, 
Omni: Why did social theory refuse to 
acknowledge biology for so long? 
DeVore: The relationship between biol- 
ogy and social theory has a sad histo- 
ry. For more than a century biologists 
have put forth deterministic theories 
about human social behavior. Almost all 
had a hidden agenda — some variation 
on the "master race." So social scien- 
tists have quite rightly rejected such the- 
ories forcefully. On the other hand, the 
major social theorists turned to biology 
for the underpinnings of their theories, 
Marx even wrote to Da™/in asking if he 
could dedicate Das Kapilal to him. 
While biology .has moved forward rap- 
idly, attempts by social theorists to hard- 
en and biologize their theories have 
served them ill in every instance, Small 
wonder that many colleagues, thrice 
burned, feel they must slay the dragon 
on sociobiology 

Critics from social science and phi- 
losophy must now argue that humans 
are not part of the natural world. Anthro- 
pologists have argued that natural se- 
lection and other biological processes 
brought'hominids to the threshold of 
modern humanity, but then culture 
took over entirely. Such an argument is 
fatally flawed. Those characteristics 
that have become incorporated into the 
human genome were incorporated be- 
cause they increased Inclusive fitness 
and so were adaptively patterned. To 
assert anything else is to maintain that 
somehow a large number of innate char- 
acteristics, ones that did not correlate 
with fitness, displaced those that were 
more fit. Advocates of this position 
must explain how evolutionary process- 
es systematically produced maladap- 
tive trails! 

Omni: Are you still being attacked by 
feminists? 

DeVore: Oh yes, but not much an^^ 
more. At first, our investigations were 
largely devoted to analyzing strategies 
of male reproduction — mate behavior 

74 OMNI 



tends to be far more flamboyant and 
male reproductive success tends to 
vary more than females'. Yet my female 
graduate students knew in their guts 
this could not be the whole story; they 
began to educate themselves and me. 
Together we worked through the reali- 
ty of male-female relations in animal and 
human societies. Perh&ps I'm proudest 
of the fact that these bright young won^- 
en, confronted with fundamental theo- 
ry in biology, are able to reconcile so- 
cial and feminist concerns with it. 
Omni: Can you give me an example? 
DeVore: Male domination of women — 
as measured by the grievous statistics 
on murder, rape, spousal assault, and 
Infant killing, and myriad lesser costs — 
Is unquestionably a major problem in hu- 
man society. What has been in doubt 
is how recent a phenomenon this 
might be. Barbara Smuts' review sug- 
gests it is not recent at all. A general 



4As I look about 

me, I see the vast majority 

of humans 

following the ancient 

selfish, and 
ultimately destructive 

dictates 
of natural seiection.9 



pattern of male coercion of female sex- 
uality exists in many primates. Male ag- 
gression toward females commonly ris- 
es as the females become more sexu- 
ally attractive, because dominant males 
seek to prevent female sexual congress 
with other males, some of whom may 
be preferred by the female. Forced cop- 
ulations, infanticide, aggression toward 
and murder of females occur through- 
out primates but with very different fre- 
quencies in different species. 

Female vulnerability may depend 
strongly on the existence or nonexist- 
ence of female kin and/or friends who 
can provide support. Gorilla females, for 
example, live in one-male units without 
adultfemale relatives to help them. The 
male Is twice their size. They are very 
vulnerable. If there's no support avail- 
able, the female may need to seek pro- 
tection from a single male in exchange 
for more or less exclusive sexual 
rights. This logic. Smuts suggests, is at 
work in our species. In many societies, 
marriage protects a woman from rape 
by outside males while legalizing it by 



the husband. This new work may force 
even you biologists to enlarge your un- 
derstanding of sexual selection. 
Omni: How is that, In/? 
DeVore; You see sexual selection as 
consisting usually only of male-male com- 
petition and female choice. But Smuts' 
work calls attention to male coercion of 
female sexuality as an evolutionary 
force. Male coercion limits female 
choice, but it may also force costs on 
females, causing them to pursue a 
less profitable life than without the co- 
ercion. Male sexual coercion uses the 
cost, or threat of cost, to manipulate the 
female. If 10 to 30 percent of the off- 
spring in each generation are lost to 
male reproductive coercion, we're deal- 
ing with a major evolutionary force. 

A common theme is turning up all 
over the animal world; Females may be 
forced to buy into a degree of domina- 
tion and abuse by one male to protect 
herself from worse abuse by others. 
This may be the fly-in-the-ointment of 
sexual selection, In the Eighties, many 
of us came to imagine a world where 
female choice often ruled for female 
benefit. Male-male competition would 
evolve under female control, as I used 
to say, like a giant tournament designed 
to reveal to choosing females the fittest 
genes for future progeny 

Male coercion takes the system down- 
hill, subverts female choice to choos- 
ing the lesser of two evils, limiting fe- 
male choice to become an offshoot of 
male coercion. The only challenge to fe- 
male choice as an overriding force for 
female gain is that male coercion may 
force the female Into a relatively narrow 
choice— which male can best help pre- 
vent molestation by others. 
Omni: What is most cogent about field 
studies of monkeys and apes? 
DeVore: We've only begun to throw off 
the straitjackel of theories that tended 
to "decorticate" our subjects. We have 
a fundamentally similar brain to the pri- 
mates and perceive our worid the way 
they do. Today, we realize social 
groups of primates are rich tapestries 
of individual strategies, coalition forma- 
tions, friendships, and social memories. 
Omni: Social memones? 
DeVore: In highly specialized species 
like baboons and chimpanzees, individ- 
uals have strong expectations that a fa- 
vor done for a fellow group member 
will be returned in the future. If this re- 
turned favor is not forthcoming, we see 
a reaction ranging from a subtle distanc- 
ing of the relationship to an explosion 
of righteous indignation. Because we 
are so like them, we probably can in- 
terpret the chimpanzee expectation of 
"fair play" with considerable accuracy 
Many of us now feel similar behaviors 






AmTimATTER 



merits of Stonehenge and the patterns in Britain's cereal crops 
part of the same orgy of circular construction? 



Beginning some 5,000 years ; 
England's Stone and Bronze Ag 




ein 


[Habitants indulged in an orgy o 


f cir 


cuiar construction, erecting n 


10 rt 


than 900 stone rings and ano 


the 


30,000 to 40,000 earthen round 


bar 


rows. Many of the rock ring; 


;, 


which Stonehenge is but the 1 


bes 


known example, served as solar 


ant 


lunar calendars, while the barr 


nw! 


were typically used as burial sites 


But why the fixation on circula 


forms? And even more puzzling 


slightly off-center in an elliptical egi 


shape when a true circle wouli 




ence Meaden, seems coi 
L "I suggest some were built square- 



jthor of The Goddess of the Stones 

for students of 

lar patterns appearing in Brit; 
:ade alone, more than 2,000 u. 
mysterious circles have cropped up worldwide, 
ovenwhelming majority appearing in the ar- 
1 and west of Lor 
All of the more com 
tograms. are undoubtedly the product of ' 
ing, claims Meaden. Others, he theorizes, are 
caused by tiny, electrically charged whirlwinds. Ac- 
cording to Meaden, such vortexes can glow visibly at 
night and could conceivably be responsible for many 
UFO reports and related phenomena. If Meaden is 
correct, these vortexes might have resulted in UFO 
ordinary monuments like 

^..^,.a^ „ les as well. 

For one thing. Meaden argues, the predominant re- 



space," with the spi 
senting the vagina of Mother Earth 
id the flattened surrounding a 



e slightly off-center 



I ral pi 

' tects weren't being cryptic, in other 

iply replicating 

_j ^„ found in nature. 

Meaden's theory that crop circles 
jpplied the template for Stonehenge ; 
similar structures has met with skepticism fruin 
some archaeologists and cerealogists. "It's nothing 
but a wild guess," says John Michelt, hir 
dent of British antiquities and editor of ft 
il, The Cerealogist 

)rey Burl, England's foremost authority on 

stone circles, concedes the idea is "superficially in- 
teresting," t'lt he doubts it will ever hold water. "For 
-"*-' " ' '"" "cultivated crops were on hand 



tronomically aligned. "I ^ „^ 

incidence to the alignment of stars and deliberate hu- 
man activity rather than to any aft ' ' — ■"" *'"'" 

ys Burl 

Meaden, whose new book, The Stonehenge So- 
lution, concentrates chiefly on the construction of 
Stonehenge, didn't create the situation but maintains 
■■■■■■" "" "' '-'--' '- explain it." In fact, says Mead- 
:one circles in the first millenni- 
10 one thought of making rings 
1, it was a period of the earliest 
timber circles, which unfortunately did not survive." 
—DENNIS STACY 



AmTifmATTER 



totally awake as time 
stopped and the mer 



before my eyes. . . . 



A strange giddiness suf- 
fused — ■'-"■— ■■ f^— ■-■ 
Alkon 
book, Memory's Voice 
(HarperCollins)- Alkon's 
tale is typical of tfie 
accounts of 8 million 
Americans who claim to 
have had near-death 



heading laboratories at 
both the National Institutes 
of Health and the Marine 
Biological Laboratory in 
Woods Hole, Massachu- 
setts, Alkon is in a unique 



sense of euphoha. He saw 
a "kind of light against a 
blue background," p-" 
haps owing to anoxi 
lack of oxygen to t 
Oxygen deprivation, Alkon 
es, might have 
I triggered the firing of 



ilHiiiWiiiiiiiviiJ 



sense of relief and release reviewing ail of what you 



rhe feeling, he says, was 
'marvelously pleasant." 



valuable lesson fi 
journey to the pi 
's helpf 



ndon all effort. 



lei go. And 
I you don't have to t " 
' ■ ■ " "■ ( Nadis 



ABDUCTION SURVEY I Vegas 



a recent Roper Poll of 
6,000 Americans. Accord- 
ing to the poll, an 
astounding 2 percent of 
Ihie adult population, or 
some 3.7 million people, 
may be abductees. even if 
they don't quite know it 



er they had ever i. 

d paralyzed, fit..... 
iMiiJLtgh the air, experi- 
enced a time loss of an 
or more, seen 
;ual balls of light in a 
1, or found puzzling 
5 on their bodies. 
According to UFO buff 
Bob Bigelow, the Las 



HOTLINE TO HE&VgN 

During the 1992 presiden- 
tial campaign, a group of 
"angelologists" worked qui- 
etly behind the scenes. 
"We weren't trying to 
influence the election," 



the new president had a 
rapport with Uhel, th( 
archangel of our nati 
elevated to that lofty post 
in 1988- Marti n-Kuri says 
she and her associates at 
Tapestry — a Falmouth, 
Massachusetts, firm devot- 
dyof 
I anqeis — nave also worked 



primary goal was strength- 


the heavenly kind, ^ 


ening connections with 


you can call Tapestry's 


guardian angels through 


hotline at 1-800-28- 


'creative offerings" to the 


ANGEL. For interested 


ligher world. An even 


callers, Martin-Kuri will 


bigger, Second American 


even consult, at a cost of 


Conference on Angels, will 


$1 00 per hour, over the 


be held in Boston this 


phone. One client, who 


June. "It will focus on the 


had a history of exploiting 


specific tasks angels want 


other people, for instance 


us to do," Martin-Kuri 


was encouraged by his 


savs. A orocer may act 


guardian angel to give ur 


nicer to his customers. A 


that way of life. The man 


lolitician may try to unite 


now works tor the 


spiritual concepts with 


homeless, Martin-Kuri 


jragmafic goals." 


claims. Another client — a 


According to Martin- 


woman living what Martin 


<uri, Tapestry's focus 


Kuri calls "a cloistered 


s not on "trendy upstarts 


existence" in a trailer 


ike aliens," which have 


home — was urged to 


recently invaded the 


become more sociable. A 


angel turf. Rather, 


few years later, says 


Tapestry deals with the 


Martin-Kuri, she was give 


good, old-fashioned 


a large Victorian home 


angels described in the 


and used it to entertain 


Old Testament and other 


and help people interact 


'good books." 


on "a higher spiritual 


For more information of 


Diane."— Steve Nadis 



inJTERVIElAJ 



CONTINUED r-ROM p; 



exist in other primates, such as ba- 
boons, less like us in gestures and oth- 
er methods of expressing behavior. 
Omni: Can behaviors in the living 
great apes be used to help understand 
human evolution? 

DeVore: Recently we've discovered be- 
havior in chimpanzees no responsible 
scientist would have imputed to our hom- 
inid ancestors even a decade ago, 
Jahe Goodall's study sites at Gombe 
and Toshisada Nishida's site in the 
mountains of Tanzania indicate that 
■ chimps use tools and that males will 
occasionally surround and kill young 
animals. At Gombe, it was not clear 
whether males were actually hunting 
or simply aggregated in an area and 
fortuitously captured a small animal. In 
the Tai Forest of the Ivory Coast, as 
reported by Christophe and Hedwige 
Boesch, it's clear the hunt Is highly 
organized. Female chimps in the Tai For- 
est are expert tool makers, using a va- 
riety of hardwoods to crack different 
kinds of nuts. They systematically 
cache rare stones, fetching them 
when a hard-nut tree is in fruit. 
Omni: There's a division of labor be- 
tween males and females? 
DeVore: Yes, and this until recently has 
been considered a hallmark of the hu- 
man economic system. One of my fa- 
vorite anecdotes from this study con- 
cerns two males seen gathering large 
quantities of hard nuts. They brought 
them to an old female who was sitting 
at the foot of a tree with cracking 
stones. The males dumped the nuts in- 
to her lap and waited patiently while she 
eracked-the nuts for all three of them. 

The so-called pygmy chimp or bono- 
bo lives' in such a remote region in 
Zaire that studying them in the wild has 
proven frustrating. Frans de Waal and 
his colleagues at Emory report that 
male bonobos in captivity regularly ex- 
change food for sexual intercourse 
with females. Bonobos may be the sex- 
iest of all primates. Bonobo females 
mate through the menstrual cycle, dur- 
ing pregnancy, and lactation. Female 
bonobos frequently bond with each oth- 
er by what observers call "G/G rub- 
bing," bringing their genital areas to 
bear and rubbing vigorously with obvi- 
ous mutual pleasure. 

Female bonobos also seem to pre- 
fer copulation in the ventral/ventral po- 
sition, whereas males apparently do 
not. The clitoris in the female bonobo 
is positioned much more toward the 
front than in the common chimpanzee. 
One afternoon-at the captive colony at 

80 OMNI 



Emory, 1 watched a male r 
licit a female. She came forward eager- 
ly to embrace him in the face-to-face po- 
sition, which he refused, trying to turn 
her around for dorsal/ventral inter- 
course. Finally, she accepted inter- 
course "doggy style" but immediately 
aftera/ard insisted on a second copu- 
lation in the face-to-face position. This 
struck me as a chimpanzee version of 
the film Quest for Fire, which in any 
case should have been called Quest for 
the Missionary Position. 
Omni: These chimpanzee behaviors 
suggest a social organization and ad- 
aptation we assume our ancestors led. 
But the most distinctive human charac- 
teristic is missing: language. 
DeVore: Language has led to a human 
adaptation in which we view our clos- 
est relatives, the chimps, across a nar- 
row but deep chasm. Nonetheless, I 
see no reason to suppose anything 



6The bonobos' 
copulations struck me as a 

chimpanzee 
version of Quest for Fire, 

which in 

any case should've been 

called Quest 

for the Missionary Position.^ 



like modern language preceded by any 
appreciable period of time the appear- 
ance of Homo sapiens. Although many 
colleagues would disagree with me, I 
consider it an open question whether 
Neanderthals had what we'd call a "mod- 
ern language." 

Omni: Are you suggesting a protolan- 
guage, or prelanguage period? 
DeVore: Unfortunately, every language 
today is equally modern in that it follows 
the same basic linguistic, principles. 
One can imagine from studies of lan- 
guage acquisition in children, a stage 
with stripped-down and simplified linguis- 
tic ability — a fevi* nouns, a few "opera- 
tor" words as action words — would 
have benefited the rapid evolution of 
traits in the human line without coming 
close to a modern language. 
Omni: What about the great apes that 
have been taught to "speak"? 
DeVore: Like everyone, I've been in- 
thgued by the various labs that have 
taught American sign language to 
chimps and- gorillas. I've always had se- 
rious doubts about the enterprise, be- 



cause the greatly enlarged areas of the 
human brain that facilitate information 
processing and the subtle use of the vo- 
cal apparatus are simply not large in 
chimpanzees. It's remarkable that 
chimps have progressed as far as 
they have toward linguistic communica- 
tion, and most of the earlier studies are 
now viewed with considerable skepti- 
cism. We are just beginning to appre- 
ciate the complexity and subtlety of the 
chimpanzee mind and behavior and 
that it's an anthropocentric pretense to 
insist that they meet a human measure, 
to communicate in a modern language. 
Omni: Why have you become involved 
in dolphin studies? 

DeVore: There's a strong temptation to 
test the principles of behavioral ecology 
on a species that's been separated 
from land vertebrates by 50 million 
years. The opportunity came when a 
group of dolphins at Monkey Mia, 
Shark Bay, Vutestern Australia, sought hu- 
man contact over a number of years. 
Nine or ten come in daily to interact 
with humans in ankle-deep water. 

Dolphin and' whales studies have suf- 
fered because one normally only has a 
few weeks a year to observe their be- 
havior; then they're off at sea. This dol- 
phin population remains throughout 
their lives at Monkey Mia. We observe 
them day after day as if watching a 
troop of baboons. We've identified 
more than 200 individuals. Dolphins ap- 
pear to have a social organization re- 
markably like chimpanzees'. Coalitions 
of males patrol areas within which fe- 
males and young have individual forag- 
ing zones. There's a dominance hierar- 
chy within each male subgroup. Two 
gangs will merge for an hour or so, but 
when they divide again, the member- 
ship will not have changed. Watching 
them from a boat, I felt I was seeing a 
marine version of West Side Story. 
Omni: You've invested heavily in your 
students rather than do fundamental re- 
search yourself. Any regrets? 
DeVore: Early on I realized there were 
at least a hundred questions about the 
nature of behavior I'd like to investigate 
and that with the best will in the world, 
I might make it through four or five. So 
I made a strategic decision to guide 
graduate students toward questions I 
felt important. This was painful, be- 
cause my happiest days were watch- 
ing baboons go into their trees at 
dusk, and sitting around the campfire 
with bushmen or Efe Pygmies. Although 
I had numerous regrets in my thirties 
and forties, looking back as I approach 
my sixties, I feel I made the right deci- 
sion. My best efforts were spent for oth- 
ers to carry out fieldwork in areas I 
could never achieve in one lifetime. DO 



© ARTCUMINGS 




I 






I-f genius ' Immorfcality 

(5 tKe abiljt/ is withtn 

-to express -bhe -famiio;^ m/ 

in an unfamiliar 
way 




GRAND 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 60 

It dominates her." 

"And she is hated, is she not?" 

"Havers' constructors spend haif 
their time back-stabbing eacliotlier, but 
there's no real power to be had till she 
goes. But that's not what you meant, 
is it?" 

A smile played about her tips, 
"louche." 

There's a lot of bad blood between 
the Programme Pour Femmes Ferm6es 
and Maureen Havers. When she was 
young and cared nothing about cars, 
Maureen revived Psyche et Po, Anto- 
inette Fouque's 1972 outfit which dom- 
inated the French women's liberation 
movement into the eighties — alt red 
jumpsuits and internecine foulness and 
right-wing religious overtones. 

The Programme grew up at the 
same time Maureen was wiring Psyche 
et Pa's corpse to the lightning conduc- 
tor. Ensuing battles levelled the tactical 
gulf between the two movements till the 
main differences were intellectual 
ones. Psyche et Po read Lacan; the Pro- 
gramme read Levi-Strauss. Psyche et 
Po were crypto-Capitalist; the Program- 
me were Structuralist. Psyche et Po 
played the system, the Programme de- 
constructed it. 

The Programme won, but it was a 
Pyhrric victory. Without intending it, 
they became not unlike Psyche et Po: 
an elite with no popular support. 

Catharine drained her wine glass. 
"Ms. Havers is not our prime concern. 
I don't suppose she will like what we 
have in mind but — " She shrugged, 
"What do you know of the language of 
dance?" The link between Danseuses 
Nouvelles and the Programme wasn't 
known then. I was thrown. I muttered 
something vague about semiotics and 
looked like an idiot. She told me about 
Danseuses; it was an honor- Some 
weeks passed before La Monde got the 
tipoff, 

"Are they the revolution?" i asked. 

"A small part." 

I toyed with my food. "Top ratings 
eight weeks running. Smail?" 

She was siient for some while, star- 
ing at me. I'd touched something import- 
ant. "Since when did the man without 
a television read TV small print?" 

I had to smile. "I don't," t assured 
her. "My manager does, Danseuses 
pushed my profile out of prime time 
last week. PTV wouldn't negotiate." 

Catharine nodded. "Danseuses' danc- 
er/choreographer is Helena Ritenour. In 
'41 she had an accident with a heavy 
goods vehicle. Surgeons in Sao Paulo 



rebuilt her. Nanotech CNS upgrades 
saved her from spending the rest of her 
life in a wheelchair." 

I nodded. "And some." Helene is a 
good dancer. Still. I thought about it. 
'41. In '42 Helene and Danseuses 
went on TV. Quick work, "Programme' 
money?" I asked. I knew rushing the 
Sao Paulo .technique cost a great deal. 

"We look after our owii," Catharine 
replied. "So does Havers. Doesn't she?" 

The jack behind my arse itched. 

We catch a train to Nice, It's out of re- 
cession now, It even boasts a sand 
beach (imported) and a few working pub- 
lic telephones — which Is more than 
could be said of it before. 

We eat at Le Safari. Angele is pissed 
off and she won't tell me why. I'd show 
her the town, God knows I have suffi- 
cient plastic in my wallet, but hers is right- 
eous anger, not to be bought off. 

We haven't been together long. 
Catharine gave her to me — a contact 
and Woman Friday^ — not two months 
back, I find it hard to predict her 
moods. Maybe it was Catharine's idea 
she sleeps with me; maybe she's got 
tired of playing the whore. It's not a 
thought I want to go to bed with so I try 
to get her talking. 

Like an idiot 1 mention the Program- 
me, She screws up her face like she's 
s\fallowed something fatty, "I've no 
time for that," she snaps. "It's just play 
to them. Can't you just see them wank- 
ing off to the press reports after one of 
their sadistic little outings?" 

"They're pointing up the language of 
repression," I say, all the while wonder- 
ing at my own arrogance. Angele 
doesn't know these kinds of words. 
She's an Arab street kid who was kick- 
ed once too often to stay lying down, 
not a semiotics graduate, "They're target- 
ing metagrammatio nodes in the cultur- 
al matrix — " 

Her look is enough to shut me up. 
"Don't talk to me about language!" 
She's the first woman I've met growls 
when she's angry "What do i care that 
this word and this color and this dress 
mark the boundaries of chauvinism? 
What comfort is that to the mother with 
a husband who beats her? Or the rape 
victi'm or the dyke or the pensioner? Go 
tell your good news to every lacerated 
clit in Africa then look me in the eye and 
say this is worth the money!" 

She slams her hand down on the ta- 
ble, lifts it, and there's a tiny gold wa- 
fer winking at me like the promise of El 
Dorado from the marble tabletop. 

I pick it up and weigh It gingerly in 
my hand. It's a ROM wafer — a packet 
.of hardwired information. It slips into the 
port between my shoulders — the same 




kind of port they fitted to Helene 
Ritenour, 

It's strange how Angfele can read me 
so well, even in anger. She leans over 
and strokes my hand with dark fingers. 
"Do you want to talk about It?" 

I don't, but it's tine only way I can 
thank her for tacitly forgiving me. 

"It was bad," I say. "I slid off the 
track sideways — the near side of the 
monocoque took the Impact. The 
whole thing failed in tension at the rear 
bulkhead. The engine and avionics 
went one way, the rear wheels the oth- 
er. The heat exchanger was torn off. 
The steering column broke. All the un- 
derbelly ceramics sheared — " 

"I didn't mean the car," 

"So — " Something misfires inside me 
and the old anger is back. "Papers 
have back Issues." 

She starts back like I'd slapped her. 
"That wasn't fair, I'm not a ghoul. I 
didn't mean the accident, anyway. I 
meant the treatment. How you got bet- 
ter. What it did to you." She rubs her 
face with her hands. "I want to know 
you. What am I to you? A friend or a 
whore?" Maybe this playboy bullshit is 
rubbing off on me because I really don't 
know. Sorry is the best answer I can 
come up with. We sleep in the same 
bed but we don't touch. 



I want to tell her what she wants to 
know. I want to tell her about Sao 
Paulo, and what they did to me. And 
why. I want to tell her if hurt like hell. 

She is asleep. 

The Grand Prix is six days away. 

Maureen Havers honestly believed she 
was doing me a favoi;. No one spends 
eight figures sterling on one man with- 
out some feeling behind it. She could 
have left me in a wheelchair. It wasn't 
her fault I was in that state, after all — I 
was the one who crashed, instead, she 
saved me. After a fashion. 

I remember how proud she was 
when Dr. Jacobs demonstrated the lum- 
bar jack. I swear she made eyes at it. 
As far as she was concerned then, I 
was just the meal it plugged into. 

Did I resent that? Not at the time. I 
was still in shock from the accident. I 
still couldn't quite get my head round 
the fact I could walk again — walk with 
a spine shot In five places. 

Imagine you're lying there with a hos- 
pital bed your only future. Then they 
plug ROM cartridges Into your back. On 
them are programs which teach your 
brain how to access and control a 
whole new nervous system. You can 
walk again, even shit when you want to. 
It's a miracle^and it takes a while to 



ad]ust. Then, but too late for it to make 
a difference, it occurs to you— all thai 
expensive tech, just to get you toilet 
trained again? Of course not. 

At least when the Programme paid 
for Heiene they let her be her own 
boss — or so the popular science pro- 
grams tell us. She uses an expert sys- 
tem, writing her prize-winning solo ctio- 
reography direct to a ROM cartridge. 

Me? I get fresh ROMs sent me every 
month from Achebi, where they analy- 
se my race data. It helps me drive bet- 
ter. Only they went one stage further, 

They built me a second jack, behind 
my arse. When I strap myself in, I hot- 
wire myself to the car, I don't drive It; I 
become it. 

This has its consequences. My body 
is a corporate concern. It has no solid 
boundaries. In short, it is a whore. 

One of Formula Zero's damn few 
rules states: one car, one driver. Hav- 
ers got round that — they saved my 
spine and In return have turned me in- 
to a databus, a way of loading the ag- 
gregate wisdom of Achebi's Research 
Institute into s racing car; a smart mes- 
senger with a spine full of — what? Soft- 
ware? Limpware? Wetware? Why not a 
new term altogether? Slime. 

The Casino is fashioned in flamboyant 




style wjlh towers at the corners and, sil- 
ting on the roof, great bronze angels, 
picked out by floodlighting which ex- 
tends into the Boulengrins. Angeie and 
I walk among the cacti. She is scared. 
Maybe It's the race. More likely it's be- 
ing undercover, working for terrorists. 
I wonder how much they're paying her — 
she has no respect or lil<ing for them. 
Her politics are much more homely. May- 
be they've agreed to fund some rape- 
crisis centers. 

"Do you think that wafer will kill you?" 

"Maybe." Is this her job — to frighten 
me? Test my nerve? She may be right. 
To have the world's best speed driver 
die twirling In flames through the bijou 
houses of Monte Carlo — 

No. Accidents themselves have 
their own phallic semiology. No sport on 
Earth so quickly forgets its widows. 
Grand Prix's finest take Death as their 
bride. Whisper their names in awe, De- 
pailler. Villeneuve, Willy Mairesse. 

I do not think the Programme will kill 
me. Perhaps I lack the cruelty to credit 
such deception. Perhaps, if I were a 
woman, I could be that cruel. Perhaps 
{I look at Angdie, the stoop of her shoul- 
ders, her tired eyes, the way she twitch- 
es her fingers through hsr hair)— per- 
haps I would have to be, to survive. 

We return to the Hotel de Paris. We 
have a suite overlooking the Casino. To- 
morrow Angdie will sit on our balcony; 
she will see the cars as they stream in- 
to the square and snake down the hill. 

Perhaps she will think of me. 

We watch Danseuses Nouvelles. 
There are only five dancers in the com- 
pany, including Helene. I count while I 
watch — if I didn't know better, I would 
say there were twenty-three. This is the 
heart of Danseuses' enduring novelty. 
The way they dance alters their appear- 
ance. They toy with the semiology of 
movement, with their audience's stereo- 
typic racial and social expectations. 
They move in a way we expect certain 
kinds of people to move, and they be- 
come those people. The eye is tricked 
by the conditioned expectations of the 
brain. The Government are outraged by 
the Programme's violent acts. But I sus- 
pect they fear this quiei revolution far 
more. They can handle terrorism. 

But seduction? 

The credits spool and I undress. I sit 
cross-legged on the bed. Angfele push- 
es the wafer into my back. 

It does not take long for the head- 
ache to clear. Two green circles ap- 
pear, one above the other, center-vi- 
sion. In an eyeblink they are gone. 
They are the first and last I will see of 
the Programme's system. It will perform 
its acts regardless. I will have no op- 
portunity to intervene. 



"It's all right now," I say. 
Angeie turns on the light. She looks 
at me and she is afraid. 

Inside me, something flexes, 

FormulaZeroisa race for cars, not driv- 
ers. It is a vicious testing bed for crack- 
pot ideas, the way Formula One used 
to be till the nineteen-seventies and the 
iron rule of Jean Marie Balestre. 

Formula One's rule book ceased to 
reflect technical progress around that 
time. Formula Zero was conceived i 
the nineties as a way round the rule 
book and into the twenty-first century 
Anyway crashes are good for business. 

My eyes are full of lignocaine. Under- 
lids count off the seconds. I tense my 
arse and spool the rsvcounter into the 
red, just out of my line of focus. I pop 
the clench plate into my mouth and 
bite down. The throttle glows green. 
blink. The visor snaps down. It's made 
of Kevlar A projector micropored to my 
head beams eight external views onto 
the inner surface of the visor then set- 
tles for center-forward. 

Eight seconds. 

At minus seven point two seconds 
the car handshakes the processor be- 
hind my lumbar jack. Point nought 
nought one seconds into the race the 
handshake Is complete and all this 
touch-and-blink gear takes second fid- 
dle to Achebi's direct-feed wizardry 

Four seconds. 

Engine status icons mesh and flow 
behind my eyes. 

Zero. 

I'm in a different place, A green hill- 
side. The track is a smooth black noth- 
ing under my wheels, swirling round the 
hill. I follow it with cybernetic eyes. Gen- 
try in the Ferrari is a blue proximity- 
danger icon on my left near-side. He 
cuts me up on the first corner. I'll use 
him as a pacemaker. I'm so far ahead 
of the league table I'd be happy to let 
him win. But if I don't pass the post 
first, then Catharine's meme-bomb sits 
in me, waiting for the next victory. It on- 
ly triggers If I'm race champion. A kind 
of sick fascination Is driving me. That 
and a hope that the Programme's at- 
tack on thie machismo-oriented Grand 
Prix might dovetail with myown wish for 
vengeance on Maureen Havers. 

My tires are the sort that go soft and 
adhesive in the heat of acceleration. I 
have five laps advantage over the op- 
position, five laps glued to the road, be- 
fore they lose their tack and I slip into 
something more hard-wearing. 

There's the sea — a grey graphic noth- 
ing. My eyes spool white prediction 
curves and hazard warnings. I take Gen- 
try on the skid in a maneuver that short- 
ens my tire life by a lap. I feel the dlf- 




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ference, the loss of traction. I'm pick- 
ing up sensory information from every 
stressed member of the vehicle, direct- 
ly, through my spine. 1 am the car — 
and the car is feeling queasy. At the pit 
robots tend me, probing and swopping 
and inflating the things that make up 
this surrogate body of mine. My 
wheels feel tight and warm, hugged 
near to buckling by fresh, high-pressure 
tires. I scream away from the pit. The 
Longines people send me a stop time 
and ETF. They're counting me down for 
the World Record — a special etherlink 
tells me how I'm doing. The real dan- 
ger now is the back-markers don't 
have the decency to pull in for me. 
They do not like me, because Havers 
and Achebi have made me far too 
good. With me around, no one else can 
hope to get near the championship. 

By next season, I reckon FISA will 
rule against my kind of driving for the 
good of the sport. Then I'm back to the 
clench-plate and dataskin and honest 
dangerous driving. And in another twen- 
ty years Formula Zero will have ac- 
creted its own four-inch-thick Yellow 
Book and the whole process will start 
over again, A new breed of Formula Lib- 
re. From Sao Paulo, maybe. 

My shoulder blades itch. There's 
something strange in my nervous sys- 
tem. I wonder what it does. 

Something dreadful happens. 

I'm tearing towards the tunnel (look 
no hands) when there's the most appall- 
ing jolt. The gearbox tears its guts out 
and my ribs try streining themselves 
through the crash-webbing. I round the 
bend along the harbor road and my 
neck isn't up to the G-strain. 

I slide into the pit and nausea over- 
takes me. The car realizes I'm going to 
throw up. The helmet snaps open and 
the clench plate grows hot to make me 
spit it out. I throw up over the side of 
the car, A valet trolley wheels over and 
scrubs off the mess, revealing a 
smeared ELF deca!. 

My whole body burns green fire. 

Every nerve sings with power. 

Achebi's unmistakeable.Go signal. I 
scrabble under my seat for the clench 
plate, lis taste of sour saliva is nause- 
ating and I wonder idly if I'm going to 
be sick again oh the circuit. My helmet 
slams itself down and the graphics 
blink on. It only takes a moment to be- 
come a car again. But this time it's dif- 
ferent. This time, I'm way down the 
field and will be lucky io be placed. 
This time — the first lime this season — ! 
will have to race. 

I am compelled. What atrocity have 
they given me to perform? Will 1 karate 
the neck of the President of FOCA? 
Will I tear Maureen's eyes out — or 



my own — In front of a billion couch 
potatoes? 

Some of Angele's special anger 
flows through my veins and into the car. 

It feeis good and dangerous, like the 
Grand Prix I remember. The difference 
is, back then I /<newwhen-l was stretch- 
ing the car to its limits. Now I can feel 
it. I'm an athlete with a steel body, a mid- 
dle distance runner doubling speed on 
the last five laps. 

My arrogance is rewarded. 

The car starts falling apart. 

It's not anything you can see. Even 
though they're wired up my back, I near- 
ly miss the signs — ticks and prickles 
and a hot metal taste in the back of my 
throat. I'm an athlete, pushing my body 
and doing it damage and before long 
my knees are crumbling, my toes are 
burning away my lungs are full of acid 
phlegm. I'm screaming cybernetic ag- 
ony into my helmet as ! come in sight 
of the prize pack, They are jockeying 
for position with all the cumbersome 
grace of whales. My scream becomes 
a roar. I think of the horror dozing fitful- 
ly in my spine, I think of the hurt behind 
Angdie's eyes, and every hurtful stupid- 
ity under the sun — and I hurl myself for- 
ward. Danger icons spill blood behind 
my lids. 

Four and Three concede with grace 
and let me past, I run tandem with 
place 2 — Ashid in the Bugatti. I know 
from old he's no gentleman. We hug 
wheel-space through the square. 

Data chitters through me. I take 
hold of the wheel. I want to be ready. 
If this goes wrong it might crash my sys- 
tems. The wheel recognises my grip 
and unlocks, shaking me boisterously 
like an over-friendly scrum half, 

I watch the odds-window, turn the 
car in, Ashid jerks sideways and back 
and already I'm wheeling past him. Our 
back wheels kiss and make up, then I'm 
running for pole, Martineau leads and 
he is Havers' Number Two, If I can get 
within five lengths of him he'll slow 
down like a good boy and let me win. 

All of a sudden I have a pacemaker 
to get me there, 

I leave Gentry behind at number 
three. 'Why Gentry — why not Ashid? The 
Bugatti is still sound, my icons tell me — 
which is good because even a kiss can 
send an unlucky car tumbling — so may- 
be Ashid's nerve's gone, 'cause he's 
more than a match for this prick. I think 
Geniry must have popped a piil, 

I let him come alongside. I know he 
rides with a clear visor so I let go the 
wheel and wave to piss him off. 

Then I change gear. 

Time for my 550 kph Sunday drive. 

Longines send regrets. The record is 
safe. But my mind's on something 



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else. Martineau is tootling towards the 
line. I'd ride a dignified Inalf-length 
aliead of him only Gentry's been driv- 
ing like a madman behind me for the 
past two minutes and I'm too hyped to 
slow down. 

And as I pass the line I realize: I'm 
no different, I too am wedded to dan- 
ger, which "is a longer name for death. 
Achebi made me fast, yes, but they al- 
so made me safe. I don't hate Maureen 
Havers, or what she did to me. I hate 
Achebi for protecting me. I hate tlie doc- 
tors for repairing me, I hate myself. I'm 
like all the others. A lite-hating thing— 
a phallus-cocoon finding new ways to 
die. Why else did I let the Programme 
infect me? What have I done to myself? 

Whisper their names. Depailler. Vllle- 
neuve, Willy Malresse. 

Me. My helmet snaps up on a view 
of a hundred thousand cheering would- 
be suicides. I smile and wave; the sun 
and the wind dry my tears, 

I pull the jack out and adjust my 
flight pants and get out of the car. 

Next stop the champagne. 

Maureen Havers is up on the podi- 
um. She has a smile like death and I 
envy it. A nude girl hands me the cham- 
pagne magnum,. It's very hot here. 

My hands are shaking. It gets dark. 

I look up at the sun, puzzled. 

A blood-spot on my retina, receding 



I wake up in my hotel room, Catharine 
is sitting by the bed. I look round. 
Angele's not there. "Is it over?" 

Catharine smiles, "It's over," 

"Did I do— what did I do?" 

"Rest first." 

"Nol" I sit up in bed arid it feels like 
I just shoved my head in a mincer, I 
take a deep breath. "Show me now." 

She lights up Angele's PC, 

Where is she? I watch the rerun, I see 
what a billion TV addicts have lived for 
all season. 

Me. I don't believe it. There, on the 
podium, in front of them all — 

I'm masturbating. Wanking myself 
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by the end of it I'm shaking afresh with 
disgust and self-loathing and fascinat- 
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itself could ever be. The power of 



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"I can't believe 1 did that — didn't do — " 
I'm babbling again. I turn to Catharine. 
Angdie must tiave toid her I like Irish. 
She's pouring me a tumbier tull, 

"You didn't. Our wafer did. it took yoj 
through a very special dance. Helene's 
been working on it for months." 

"A dance " 

"Yes." She hands me the tumbler, 

I drink it down in one, "A repulsive 
dance." When I calm down she sits be- 
side me and says, "The Grand Prix. A 
phailocentric institution, wouldn't you 
say? But will men ever be able to draw 
that kind of strength from it, now its 
figurehead has lampooned it so ably — 
so cleverly?' 

My eyes widen with shock. "Oh, you 
bitch." The truth clicks home. "I'll nev- 
er race again." 

She shrugs. She is prepared for my 
reaction. I feel vivisected. 

"There are other ways to drive," she 
says "When Havers sacks you, as she 
surely must, we have other games for 
you lo play Networks, Security systems. 
Stock exchanges." 

Through a veil of shock I sense the 
potential behind her words. I glimpse 
the power that is mine as a servant of 
the Programme, the riches my skills and 
my lumbar jack might yet yield— for me, 
and for the women of Brazil, Africa, the 
whole twisted world. 

But. "How will 1 ever show my face 
again?" 

"Which face?" She gets off the bed 
and walks over to unplug the IBCM 
lead and as she walks her legs grow 
stocky, her hair lengthens, her skin 
grows dark and when she turns to me, 
her mouth is more full, her forehead 
less pronounced, her cheeks have 
swollen a little— and Angfele smiles. It 
is beautiful. 

"Everything has its place in the ma- 
trix of signification," Angele says, in a 
voice I do not recognise. "You claim no 
prejudice, no chauvinism — yet a ges- 
ture, a turn of the head, a way of low- 
ering the eyelids, all of that plays on 
your stereotypic view of things. See how 
the white bitch becomes the dusky 
whore." 

"Oh no," I murmur, "Not now. Not an^^ 
more." I slip off the bed and walk clum- 
sily toward Angele and hold her in hu- 
mility and run my hand over her back. 
I feel for the first time the ROM port be- 
tween her shoulder blades. Her dis- 
guise hid that, too, till now. What a clev- 
er dance Helene has written for her! 
■ My heart jolts up into my mouth. 
"Heiene?' 

"Hello." Her tongue is hot on my 
cheek. She laughs, and the sound is a 
promise. peace , , , riches . . . 
revolution . . . DO 

BS OMNI 



liced that AIDS shares a striking num- 
ber of similarities with GVHD, AIDS pa- 
tients and GVHD patients frequently ex- 
hibit skin lesions — scaly psoriasislike 
skin. Both groups share frequent inles-_ 
tinal diseases, and even more striking- 
ly, a strong susceplibility to infection by 
different viruses, bacteria, and fungi. 
The trouble was, for almost a decade, 
researchers couldn't fit AIDS and 
GVHD into the same conceptual pic- 
ture, classifying AIDS as a viral disease 
and GVHD as a transplantation reac- 
tion. By the early 1990s, however, the 
similarities between AIDS and GVHD 
had too many obvious parallels, a rea- 
son which prompted Hoffmann to pro- 
pose his theory that the shape of HIV 
is similar to MHO and therefore pro- 
vokes the immune system into destroy- 
ing itself. And the common link between 
AIDS and GVHD was MHO. But if Bol- 
ognesi and others in the vaccination 
field are correct, HIV may not be just 
mimicking MHC antigens as Hoffmann 
suggests. The virus may actually be 
grabbing the molecules from every 
cell it infects. 

Strong confirmatory evidence for 
these predictions came in December 
1992 from a group led by Larry Arthur 
of Program Resources, a subcontrac- 
tor of the National Cancer Institute in 
Maryland. Arthur examined highly puri- 
fied HIV preparations thai had been 
grown in human cells and found huge 
amounts of MHC and other related pro- 
teins studded in the viral coat. Surpris- 
ingly he found that MHC molecules ac- 
tually outnumber the viral-coat protein 
molecules on each virus by about two 
to one. In other words, the outside of 
HIV carries a mixture of its own proteins 
and MHC molecules from the cells it 
last infected. Since the immune system 
of the infected person is trying io dis- 
tinguish the virus from its own cells, 
such a mixture on HIV would be incred- 
ibly confusing for the immune network. 

Arthur's astonishing results mean the 
major immune response against inject- 
ed HIV might be against cellular MHC 
and its cohorts rather than against HIV 
itself. It represents a beautiful vindica- 
tion of Stott's original results — that some- 
thing on the outside of normal cells can 
provoke the same kind of immune re- 
sponse as HIV, even when no virus is 
present— and of Bolognesi's findings. 

The observation that you could in- 
duce the same response in the immune 
response regardless of whether you 
used HIV or just the cells in which it had 
grown seemed to be a major setback 



ruses. After all, how could you try to in- 
duce a specific immune response 
against HIV if you could induce a re- 
sponse without the virus? Many people 
in the field were at a loss., Bolognesi, 
however, is intrigued by the possibility 
of designing a vaccine against HIV by 
first injecting a person with bits of nor- 
mal cells with MHC or with proteins 
like it. He thinks that once a person's 
immune system is primed with a cock- 
tail of MHC molecules, the person will 
be protected against HIV through im- 
mune responses directed against 
these targets that are carried by the in- 
fecting viruses and cells. 

But transfusing somebody with for- 
eign bits of cells is a bit risky, and the 
procedure is a long way from the origi- 
nal intention of designing a specific vac- 
cine directed against HIV, "We are get- 
ting transfused all the time with foreign 
cells, and maybe the risks of transplan- 
tation reaction were not as great as we 
thought," Bolognesi says. And Hoff- 
mann's discovery of hew HIV can mim- 
ic important immune molecules suoh as 
MHC underlines how extraordinarily clev- 
er the virus is. This tiny packet of ge- 
■ netio information — about 500,000 times 
smaller than our own allocation of genetic 
information — is able to utterly turn the 
tables on our immune systems: by fool- 
ing it, by evading every attempt of the 
system to neutralize it, and finally, by 
turning the immune network back on it- 
self in a self-destructive frenzy 

The late Albert Sabin won wide- 
spread acclaim and numerous honors 
for his work in designing the polio vac- 
cine in the Forties and Fifties In Sep- 
tember 1992, he wrote a groundbreak- 
ing — and blunt— article in the prestig- 
ious scientifio journal, the Proceedings 
of the National Academy of Sciences, 
in which he said thai the approaches 
being presently used in the worldwide 
search for a vaccine against HIV were 
futile. Sabin, a microbiologist whose re- 
search spanned six decades, said 
that most of the AIDS vaccines currently 
being developed are aimed at neutral- 
izing an injected HIV that lies outside 
of cells in the blood. 

According to Sabin, injecting mon- 
keys with HIV, or its monkey equivalent, 
SIV, is artificial. In the real world of 
AIDS, most circulating copies of HIV are 
safely tucked away inside cells and, 
hence, are protected against any im- 
mune responses Trying to develop a 
vaccine against a "cell-free" virus is 
doomed to failure, Sabin said. Hun- 
dreds of millions if not billions of dollars 
have been invested in a false premise, 
he contended, with the premise being 



that the AIDS virus could be targeted 
as if it weren't hiding safely inside the 
infected person's cells. Because of 
this false premise, "the vaccine field Is 
filled with distortions," he said, Bologne- 
sl disagrees. "I don't think its dooms- 
day as Sabin suggested, but Sabin 
raised some very important issues 
about the virus's sites of immunity." 

In the article, Sabin contends that a 
major port of HIV's entry into the body 
is via the anus and rectum and that it's 
important to test whether a vaccine can 
eliminate the virus from the mucosal 
ceils that line the wall of the rectum. 
Very few studies have focused on de- 
signing HIV vaccines for these cells Ac- 
cording to Sabin, a vaccine that's effec- 
tive In the blood will be useless in the 
mucosal cells of the rectum where the 
protection Is really needed. By the 
time the virus reaches the blood, it will 
be Inside blood cells where It's safe 
from immune surveillance. 

Bolognesi disagrees with Sabln's con- 
tention that the usual location of the vi- 
rus inside cells automatically means 
that it would be hidden from the Im- 
mune system. He and others point out 
that because the same cells from one 
person would be foreign to another per- 
son, the cells would be quickly de- 
stroyed by the recipient's immune sys- 



tem. These arguments notwithstanding, 
both of these eminent scientists agreed 
that the Search for an AIDS vaccine has 
so far been fraught with unexpected 
complications and barriers. 

The implications of Bolognesi's and 
Arthur's worl<, however, do hold prom- 
ise for future vaccine design, For exam- 
ple, there's probably ro sense in say- 
ing that the virus is something foreign 
that a person's immune system can be 
primed to kill. It appears unobtrusively 
In our bodies, adopts MHC proteins 
from the cells in which it grows, and be- 
comes hidden inside our cells. It dis- 
plays IvIHC molecules as if It were part 
of the immune system, but at the same 
time, It fools the Immune networl< into 
killing itself. The poei William Butler 
Yeats posed the famous question, 
"How can we l<now the dancer from the 
dance?" Arthur's results pose a mod- 
ern version: "How do we separate the 
virus from the cell?" This question Is 
much more than an exercise In seman- 
tics; it lies at the heart of Bolognesi's 
and Arthur's proposals to explore new 
AIDS vaccines based not on viral but 
on cellular proteins. 

Five years ago, people thought 
AIDS was a relatively simple disease. 
A virus gets into the body it replicates 
in T cells, and so the story went, it kills 



them. Once the T cells are really low, 
then a person Is exposed to all sorts of 
Infections. In 1993, the novel ideas 
that HIV carries iVlHC molecules with It, 
that It mimics the immune system, that 
it fools the immune system, that AIDS 
might possibly be an auteimmune dis- 
ease, have prompted the question, 
"What actually causes AIDS?" Are we 
nearly at the point at which some of the 
many enigmas are yielding to scrutiny? 
Montagnier's tantalizing data take 
some of the limelight off HIV and Intro- 
duce another actor on stage, ivlycoplas- 
ma may be important, but many more 
experiments need to be done to dem- 
onstrate the fact, Hoffmann's experi- 
ments and hypotheses suggest that HIV 
mimics MHC and provokes a strong per- 
turbation of the immune network, 
which results In the destruction of the 
immune system at lis own hands. In- 
deed, MHC may be the long-sought- 
after missing link between a tiny virus 
and the cruel disease we call AIDS. 
And this is a new twist to a story that's 
a decade old. Although nobody (with 
few exceptions) is saying that HIV Isn't 
the cause of AIDS, from Hoffmann's, 
Arthur's, and Bolognesi's perspectives, 
AIDS could be viewed as the result of 
an Immune system that, over time. Is 
fooled into destroying itself. OQ 




■-yv \ujeiix^ 



"Weil, here goes nothing. " 



posure to the sun and are relatively eas- 
ily treated. The malignant melanoma 
form, wtiicli does kill, affects places 
lii<6 the soles of the feet as well as ex- 
posed areas, and there is more of ii in 
Sweden than in Spain. 

So, what's going on? What are pub- 
licly funded institutions that claim to be 
speal<ing science doing, waving read- 
ings l<nown to be worthless (garbage in, 
"gospel out?), fal<ing data, pushing a can- 
cer scare that contradicts fact, and 
force-feeding the public a line that ba- 
sic physics says doesn't make sense? 
The only thing that comes through at all 
clearly is a determination to eliminate 
CFCs at any cost, whatever the facts, 
regardless of what scientists say. 

Would it come as a complete sur- 
prise to learn that some very influential 
concerns stand to make a lot ot money 
out of this? The patents on CFCs have 
recently run out, so anybody can now 
manufacture them without having to pay 
royalties. Sixty percent of the world CFG 
market is controlled by four companies 
who are already losing revenues and 
market share to rapidly growing chem- 
icals industries in the Third World, no- 
tably Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan. 
Some hold the patents on the only sub- 
stitutes in sight, which will restore mo- 
nopoly privileges once again if CFCs 
are outlawed. Mere coincidence? 

Ultraviolet light has many beneficial 
effects as well as detrimental. For all any- 
one knows, the increase that's being 
talked about could result in more over- 
all good than harm. But research pro- 
posals lo explore that side of things are 
turned down, while doomsayers line up 
for grants running into hundreds of mil- 
lions. The race is on between chemicals 
manufacturers to come up with a bet- 
ter CFG substitute while equipment sup- 
pliers will be busy for years, Politicians 
are posturing as champions of the 
world, and the media are having a ball. 

As Bob Holzknecht, a Florida engi- 
neer in the CFG industry for 20 years ob- 
serves, "Nobody's interested in reality 
Everyone who knows anything stands 
to gain. The public will end up paying 
through the nose, as always, but the pub- 
lic is unorganized and .uninformed." 

Good science will be the victim, too, 
of course. But science has a way of win- 
ning in the end. Today's superstitions 
can spread a million times faster than 
anything dreamed of by the doom proph- 
ets in days of old. But the same tech- 
nologies which make that possible can 
also prove equally effective in putting 
them speedily to rest. DO 



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one of these regions with iron, the phyto- 
plankton bloomed. So, to cure global 
warming, Martin suggested,:just fertil- 
ize the ocean with iron, and sit bacl< 
while the plankton grow and absorb 
COg from the air above. 

In fact, Martin says this ma/ have hap- 
pened naturally some 18,000 years ago 
at the beginning of the last ice age 
when evidence points to far more dust 
and three times more phytoplankton 
than today. None of this proves that 
plankton were fertilized by the excess 
dust and caused planetwide cooling, 
but as circumstantial evidence, many sci- 
entists find it pretty convincing. 

While no one knows what set off the 
change, doing it artifcially would be pret- 
ty simple. According to a study by the 
National Research Council, 270 ships, 
each emitting iron dust over a distance 
of 240 miles a day for ten months per 
year, could fertilize 18 million square 
miles of ocean. As a result, according 
to the NBC, the scheme could eliminate 
as much as 25 percent of ail 00^ from 
the atmosphere at a cost of $10 billion 
to $110 billion per year. 

As plans to halt greenhouse warm- 
ing go, this one sounds cheap and 
easy. But as with other blueprints for 
geoengineering, critics abound. Accord- 
ing to geologist Jorge Sarmiento of 
Princeton University, by the time the 
plan is up and running, say a hundred 
years from now, atmospheric carbon di- 
oxide would be so elevated that the 
amount marine algae could remove 
would fall from 25 percent to something 
like 10 percent. What's more, the side 
effects might be unacceptable. Krill 
digesting marine algae would ultimate- 
ly die and drop to the ocean floor, form- 
ing carbon deposits. The deposits, in 
turn, would be digested by bacteria, a 
process that requires oxygen, Sarmien- 
to believes so much oxygen would be 
consumed thai It would create a dead 
zone through much of the southern 
ocean. The bacteria would also release 
nitrous oxide and methane, greenhouse 
gases far more powerful than COg itself. 

Martin, however, says Sarmiento's es- 
timate may be unduly harsh. "Some 
phytoplankton also produce dimethyl sul- 
fide," he points out. "That stimulates 
cloud formation, which should add to 
the cooling effect." 

With luck, well know more by the end 
of the year. Though the American So- 
ciety of Limnology and Oceanography 
(ASLO) remains skeptical about iron fer- 
tilization for global warming, it has en- 
dorsed a small-scale test to confirm 

92 OMNI 



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iron's role in theoc 
grant proposal is approved, Martin 
iiopes this coming autumn to fertiiize an 
area 50 to 100 square kiiometers 
about 400 miies south of the Galapa- 
gos Isiands. Any iarge phytoplankton 
bloom should be visibie from tho new 
SEAWiFS satellite scheduled for 
iaunch ttiis August. And on-site moni- 
toring should reveal a lot about iron's 
effect Oh the atmosphere — enough, per- 
haps, to recommend the fertilization tech- 
nique to future generations hoping for 
any means of lowering terrestrial tem- 
peratures even a bit. 

But global warming Isn't the only 
problem facing geoengineers. The oth- 
er pressing Issue is the hole in the 
ozone layer created by industrial and 
consumer use of chemicals called chlo- 
rofluorocarbons, or CFCs. Some scien- 
tists believe ultraviolet light leal<ing 
through the ozone hole each spring is 
already harming life In Antarctic waters 
and increasing the rate of sl<in cancer, 
and there are signs of ozone loss over 
Australia as well. In addition, CFCs pro- 
mote global warming up to 18,000 
times more efficiently than COj- And 
CFCs, used in everything from manu- 
facturing to air conditioning, persist in 
the air for up to a century; if we 
stopped producing CFCs tomorrow, our 
great-grandchildren v^fould still have to 
cope Vifith them. 

One possible answer comes from at- 
mospheric scientist Richard Turco of 
the University of "California at Los An- 
geles and his colleague Ralph Cicerone 
of the University of California at Irvine. 
CFCs do not destroy ozone directly, the 
researchers point out Instead, they pro- 
vide chlorine that reacts with other chem- 
icals when the sun stril^es them duhng 
the polar spring. The products of 
those reactions are what do the dam- 
age. So what we need is something to 
blocl< formation of the ozone-destroying 
compounds. Ethane or propane could 
do the job, they suggest, by reacting 
with chlorine atoms that play a key role 
in the process. 

In theory, the plan is simple. Just use 
several hundred airplanes to pour 
50,000 tons of ethane or propane into 
the Antarctic air during the months- 
long night. Give it a month or two for 
the wind to mix the gas uniformly. And 
when sunlight returns to the Pole in 
late September — nothing will happen. 
The CFCs will still be there, of course, 
so the treatment must be repeated ev- 
ery year. But in other respects, the at- 
mosphere will be no more polluted 
than It was at the beginning. 

Of course, even Turco and Cicerone 
admit the concept needs a lot more 
work before it could ever be Implement- 
SA OMNI 



ed in the real world. "TTiere are so many 
complications thai we wouldn't dare to 
suggest -actually doing it," Cicerone la- 
ments. "The propane must be spread 
through the air very uniformly, and we 
have no idea how to do it. If you get too 
little hydrocarbon. It actually makes 
ozone depletion worse." 

So far, only one alternative has sur- 
faced — in the form of a Star Wars- 
style attack on CFCs. According to 
Princeton University physicist Thomas 
Stix, infrared laser light, tuned to the 
right frequency, can zap CFC mole- 
cules, selectively breaking them apart 
and stopping them in their tracks while 
leaving the rest of the atmosphere un- 
scathed. The lasers, working from the 
surface of the earth, Stix adds, 
wouldn't even be polluting. In fact, 
with the deployment of the lasers, vir- 
tually all the CFCs— and the ozone 
holes — would be gone in a decade. 

But like other geoengineering 
schemes, the laser concept comes 
with obstacles. "So far, lasers aren't near- 
ly efficient enough," Stix reports. "Us- 
ing the lasers we have today, the elec- 
tric bill alone would cost more than ten 
billion dollars a year. I hope someone 
will come up with a scheme that 
doesn't need such intense beams." 

And that, for the moment, is where 
the field of geoengineering stands. Vir- 
tually all would-be geoengineers con- 
cede that a painless cure for global 
warming or ozone depletion remains 
closer to hope than reality. The blue- 
prints for an engineered atmosphere 
need far more fine-tuning if they're to 
be pragmatically implemented, il 
they're to work, 

"We've heard a lot of ideas, many of 
them preposterous," Irvine's Cicerone 
concludes. "A lot of our colleagues 
feel it's dangerous even .to talk about 
some of these things because it rein- 
forces the view that there's nothing to 
worry about; we can jusf come up with 
a technological fix. And there's no 
doubt that for global warming or the 
ozone hole or whatever problem we're 
talking about, society should deal with 
the root causes. 

"And yet," he adds, "these environ- 
mental problems are getting bad 
enough that we rfiay be forced to consid- 
er other ways of dealing with them in 
the future." When that future arrives— 
and it may not be too far off — many pun- 
dits say the blue-sky concepts of the 
geoengineers will come out of the the- 
oretical closet to be developed and re- 
fined. Ultimately, it is the vision of 
geoengineering, radical as It seems, 
that may one day be utilized to avert an 
ecological disaster of nightmarish pro- 
portions on planet Earth. DO 



FIRST 



ment, this kind of attention almost al- 
ways has a positive effect, and it bol- 
sters nonimprisoned colleagues as 
well. In the words of Dr, Boguslawski, 
one of the Polish participants at ICPS- 
21 , "It is important that the scientists in 
these repressive countries feel that 
they have some support. In Poland, we 
felt as if someone were with us. If you 
are alone, then you are lost." 

Wilt this activity jeopardize future con- 
ferences and Ciiinese coileagues who 
host the events? The Chinese leader- 
ship has much to gain by hosting scientif- 
ic conferences, in addition to enhanc- 
ing China's access to scientific knowl- 
edge, these meetings lend legitimacy 
to Beijing's tarnished international im- 
age. Thus, there is real Incentive for the 
government to authorize these confer- 
ences and little likelihood that they will 
be halted. Furthermore, it's possible to 
speak out for. those imprisoned and per- 
secuted in a manner that shields the sci- 
entific hosts from any suggestion of in- 
volvement: dedicating papers and cir- 
culating petitions. 

Andrei Sakharov and Yuri Orlov rec- 
ognized the contribution the internation- 
al scientific community made in secur- 
ing their freedom by use of these 
same methods at meetings sponsored 
by the former Soviet government. Gov- 
ernments tend to respond to human- 
rights pressure when it suits their Inter- 
ests. Because China urgently seeks sci- 
entific exchanges, visiting scientists are 
in an excellent position to sound the 
call for improvements In Beijing's human- 
hghts practices. DO 



CREDITS 
Cover: Chris Moore; page 2, top: Greg 
Vaughn: page 2, bottom: Prof. Luc Montagnier/ 
Photo Researchers; page 4: Peter Liepke; 
pageB:Monterey Bay Aquarium; page 10:G[II 
BasignacyGamma Liaison; page 14: Veronite 
Teuber, page 18: Bill Bitchell: page 20: Jamas 
Balog; page 27: Sinclair Stammers/Photo Re- 
searchers; page 38: Glen Wfexlec; page 29, top: 
Photo Researchers; page 29, bottom: Andy Lev- 
in/Photo Researchers; page 30, top: Serge 
BiuOs; page 30, middle: Builaty Lomeo/The Im- 
age Bank; page 30, bottom: Ted Levin/Photo 
Researchers; page 32, )op: The Image Bank; 
page 32, bottom: Peter and Georgina Bowater/ 
The Image Bank; page 43, top; Culmr Pictures; 
page 43, bottom, pages 44 and 46: Christopher 
Springman; page 4B: Lee Melen; pages 52- 
53: HIV Virus/Photo Researchers; page 53, lop: 
Peter Liepke; page 53, middle; Duke Universi- 
[y: page 53, bottom: Henner Prefi; page 54, top: 
Peter Liepte; page 54, middle and bottom: Pho- 
to Researchers; pages 62-63: Photo Research- 
ers; page 64: Photo Researchers, page 75: Rob 
Atkins/Photo Researchers; page 76: Steinar 
Lund, page 77: Scaia/Art Resource; page 96; 
Inspired by Martin Gardner- Ken Kno\«^ton USA 



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A GATHERING FOR GARDNER: 

Puzzle, magic, and math devotees pay homage to the man who inspired them 

By Scot Morris 



Illusion maker Harry Eng 

launched his slow paper 
airplane off the railing of the 
ihirty-fourfh floor of the 
Atlanta Marriott Marquis 
hotel, and it circled tor more 
than three minutes before 
landing on the lobby floor. 
Magician Michael Weber 
shot a rubber band off his 
finger in the hotel foyer, and 
it rolled back to him from 
more than 25 feet away. And 
I, using an Orvis Ritz- 
Cracker Thrower, sailed a 
standard Nabisco disc more 
than 150 feet from the 
Atrium Caf6 up to the 
third-floor balcony on the 
opposite side of the lobby. 

It was quite a weekend: 
Atlanta hosted "A Gathering 
for Gardner" — Martin Gard- 
ner, best known as the 
Mathematical Games colum- 
nist in Scientific American 
for 25 years, and the man 
who has probably interested 
more people in mathematics 
and science than anyone 
else alive, 

The event came about 
because the Atlanta Interna- 
tional Museum of Art and 
Design was launching a 
three-month show on puz- 
zles, and Tom Rodgers. an 
Atlanta businessman and 
puzzle collector, invited 
Gardner to be the honored 
guest at the show's 
opening. Ordinarily, Gard- 
ner, 78, would have refused. 
His wife, Charlotte, won't fly 
and Gardner doesn't like to 
go anywhere without her. 
But Atlanta is a daylight 
drive away from Gardner's 
home in Hendersonville, 
North Carolina, so he 
decided to attend. 

Once Gardner was 
booked, Rodgers sent out 

96 OMNI 




invitations, and six weeks 

later, nearly 100 of Gard- 
ner's friends from all over 
the world had agreed to 
come. They hailed from 
three main fields: mathemat- 
ics, puzzles, and magic. 
Two journalists — Will Shortz, 
editor of Games magazine, 
and I — tagged along. 

At Saturday night's din- 
ner, Ken Knowlton unveiled 
a portrait of Gardner made 
from six complete sets ol 
double-nine dominoes 
(above). The original is 
poster sized, and Gardner's 
face only becomes visible 
when the portrait is viewed 
from 30 feet away Scott Kim 



performed Frere Jacques, 
simultaneously humming one 
part and whistling the other. 
And mathematician Ronald 
Graham delivered letters of 
appreciation from both the 
American Mathematical So- 
ciety and the Mathematical 
Association of America, 

Here are what I consider 
the best of the test: 

Ses( paper-and-pencii puz- 
zle, from Mel Stover of 
Winnipeg, Manitoba, 
Canada; He writes 
- I I 1 and asks, -Can 
you move the minus sign to 
make this equal nine-fifty?" 
{The answer is below.) 

Best business card: 



"James Dalgety Metagrob- 
ologist, Manmead, Eng- 
land." The word means 
"puzzle enthusiast." 

Best book inscription, in 
Max Maven's Book of 
Fortunetelling (Prentice- 
Hall, 1992): ^'TRUTH LIES 
HERE . . . — Max Maven." 

Best line overheard on a 
crowded elevator, from 
magician James Randi: 
"Isn't this a great hotel? The 
towels are so nice and 
fluffy— the last time I was 
here, I could hardly get my 
suitcase closed!" 

Favorite memory: On 
Thursday night, Rodgers 
looped a pencil on a chain 
through Persi Diaconis' 
buttonhole. The magician 
and Harvard mathematician 
remembered this gag from 
childhood but couldn't 
remember or figure out how 
to get it off. On Friday he 
stiil had the pencil hanging 
from his jacket, and 1 asked 
him if he wanted a hint on 
how to get it off. "No," he 
said, "I don't mind wearing 
it. It's like a badge that I've 
been here." 

Incidentally, many people 
don't know that Gardner is a 
revered magic creator; 
unfortunately he never 
performs, Martin Gardner 
Presents, published in 
March, is a hardcover 
collection of all of Gardner's 
magic articles since his first 
contribution to The Sphinx in 
1930 when he was 16 years 
old, It's available for $50, 
postpaid, from: Richard 
Kaufman, 8385 16th Street, 
#124, Silver Spring. Mar^^ 
land 20910. 

ANSWER 

I TO I (ten to ten)DO